The White House increases the pressure on Israel after the announced attack in Rafah

The White House pressed Israel to work toward a pause in the Gaza conflict to win the release of more hostages held by Hamas and to rapidly increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians. John Kirby, the White House Homeland Security spokesman, told reporters that some progress had been made in negotiations toward a humanitarian pause, but that more work remained to be done.

He reacted a day after US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that a military operation in Rafah "should not proceed" without a plan to protect civilians there.

Kirby welcomed news that the Israeli military had freed two hostages during a special forces raid in Gaza's southern Rafah neighborhood. He said there can be no end to the crisis in Gaza until Hamas releases all hostages.

The United States does not have specific information on the whereabouts of hostages held by Hamas and may have to accept the possibility that some hostages are no longer alive, Kirby added during the White House briefing.

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