Israel-Hamas war live: White House walks back Biden’s comment agreeing that Israel should delay Gaza ground assault

White House says US president ‘didn’t hear the full question’ and was only commenting on whether he wanted to see more hostages released; father speaks after Hamas releases first hostages

Hamas and Israel at war: what we know on day 15

Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani left Baghdad for Cairo early on Saturday to attend a peace conference over the Israeli-Hamas war, Reuters quotes the prime minister’s media office as saying.

Welcome to our rolling live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, now on day 15. As it approaches 7.45am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv, here’s a snapshot of the latest developments.

The White House has stepped back from Joe Biden’s comment apparently agreeing that Israel should delay a potential ground invasion of Gaza until more hostages can get out, saying the US president did not fully hear the question. Reuters reported that late on Friday reporters shouted questions at Biden as he was climbing the stairs to board Air Force One. One of the questions was whether Israel should delay an invasion of Gaza until more hostages can get out, to which Biden replied: “Yes.” But White House communications director Ben LaBolt said later: “The question sounded like: ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else.”

Two newly freed American hostages have been reunited with family inside Israel as relatives celebrated back home in Illinois, nearly two weeks after Hamas gunmen abducted them and dozens of others near Gaza. Judith Tai Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie, 17, were handed over to Israeli forces at the Gaza Strip border on Friday, becoming the first captives whose release by Hamas has been confirmed by both sides. Their release was “a first step and discussions are ongoing for more releases”, Reuters cited a source familiar with the negotiations as saying. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country “will not relent in our effort to return all of the kidnapped and the missing”.

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