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European Union leaders are gathering in Brussels for a two-day summit with conflicts, including the Israel-Hamas war, high on the agenda.
EU states have been struggling to find a common position on the conflict. Some members, such as Ireland and Spain, have issued pro-Palestinian statements while others, including Germany and Austria, have come out in staunch support of Israel.
EU members, however, have strongly condemned the terror attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7, in which militants killed at least 1,400 people and took more than 200 hostages.
But there is less agreement on calling for a cessation of Israel's retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza.
EU countries were wrangling over whether to call for a "humanitarian pause.
The French news agency AFP reported a draft statement for the summit calls "for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including a humanitarian pause."
AFP reports Germany has suggested "humanitarian windows" or "pauses" in the plural instead of definitive halt to avoid limiting Israel's ability to defend itself.
The Israel Defense Forces said it made an incursion into the Gaza Strip overnight to attack Hamas positions.
"In preparation for the next stages of combat, the IDF operated in northern Gaza," it said on X, formerly Twitter.
"IDF tanks and infantry struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts,"
The Reuters news agency cited Israel's Army Radio as describing the raid as the largest in the current war against Hamas, now in its third week.
According to the IDF, the soldiers have left the territory and were back in Israel.
Late Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that along with the heavy bombing campaign of Hamas-controlled Gaza, "we are preparing for a ground offensive".
Newly elected US House Speaker Mike Johnson used his first action in the role to call up a resolution supporting Israel.
"The first bill I'm going to bring to this floor in a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel, and we are overdue in getting that done," Johnson said as he accepted the speakership.
The motion also called on Islamist group Hamas to immediately cease attacks and release every hostage. Hamas is considered to be a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, Germany and others.
The House passed the motion with an overwhelming majority.
Johnson is a religious conservative from Louisiana who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he has "no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using" for the death toll in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas-run health ministry in the territory claimed that more than 6,500 people have been killed in Israeli attacks. Hamas is considered a terror group by the United States, the European Union, Germany and others.
At a White House press conference, Biden was asked whether the claimed death toll in the Gaza Strip meant that Israel's army was ignoring appeals to minimize civilian deaths.
"What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed," Biden responded.
"I'm sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war."
"[The] Israelis should be incredibly careful to be sure that they're focusing on going after the folks that [are] propagating this war against Israel. And it's against their interest when that doesn't happen."
Biden did not explain why he is skeptical of the figures. Palestinians reject the notion that the death toll is inflated.