Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again ruled out a cease-fire, but said he would be open to the possibility of tactical pauses in the Israel Defense Forces' ground operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the US, the EU, Germany and others, has taken more than 200 hostages from Israel and killed 1,400 people in terror attacks in southern Israel a month ago.
"As far as tactical little pauses — an hour here, an hour there — we've had them before. I suppose we'll check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages, to leave," Netanyahu said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC on Monday.
"But I don't think there's going to be a general cease-fire."
Netanyahu discussed the possibility of such pauses with US President Joe Biden in a phone call on Monday, the White House said.
"We consider ourselves at the beginning of this conversation, not at the end of it," US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said. "You can expect that we're going to continue to advocate for temporary, localized pauses in the fighting."
In the interview, Netanyahu also said Israel would take "security responsibility" for the Gaza Strip following the war.
"Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility," he said.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, the Palestinian death toll has surpassed 10,000, with more than 4,100 children among the victims.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday reiterated his calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages taken by Hamas. He also pushed for the end of the "spiral of escalation" in the West Bank.