Biden, Netanyahu discuss Gaza ceasefire, hostage release talks

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed ongoing talks on the release of hostages and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during a phone call.

The White House announced on Sunday that the two leaders reviewed negotiations between Israel and the Islamic group Hamas during the telephone call earlier in the day.

The White House said in a statement that Biden and Netanyahu "also discussed increases in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza including through preparations to open new northern crossings starting this week."

Biden stressed "the need for this progress to be sustained and enhanced."

The US president also reiterated his clear position as the Israeli military approved plans for continuation of the war in Gaza. The move is believed to be part of preparations for a ground offensive into the southern city of Rafah.

Biden has repeatedly expressed deep concerns about a possible Israeli ground operation in Rafah.

He is believed to have conveyed such concerns to his Israeli counterpart during the talks.

Biden also reaffirmed his ironclad commitment to Israel's security following the "successful defense" against Iran's unprecedented missile and drone attack earlier this month.