Biden: US will halt weapons shipments if Israeli forces go into Rafah

US President Joe Biden says he will halt shipments of American weapons to Israel if Israeli forces launch a ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Biden noted in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that civilians have been killed in Gaza by bombs and other weapons provided by the US.

He said, "I'm not supplying the weapons" if Israeli forces go into Rafah, adding he has made that clear to the Israeli side.

This is the first time Biden has publicly referred to a halt in weapons supply to Israel since the Israel-Hamas war began last October.

Biden apparently wants to step up pressure on Israel, and also deflect international and domestic criticism over continued US military support for the country amid a surge in civilian casualties.

On the other hand, Biden stressed the US remains committed to Israel's defense.

He said: "We're not walking away from Israel's security. We're walking away from Israel's ability to wage war in those areas."