US President Joe Biden has urged Israel to delay a ground attack on the Gaza Strip to facilitate diplomatic efforts to free more civilians held hostage by Hamas after the October 7 attack on Israeli soil.

Asked by a reporter whether Israel should delay its potential troop invasion of Gaza until more hostages are freed, the US president replied: “Yes.”

Earlier, the White House announced that President Biden spoke by phone with the two American women – Judith and Natalie Raanan (Photo) – who were released by Hamas on Friday.

Declaring “overjoyed” for the happy end to their ordeal, Joe Biden pledged that the US would make every effort “until the rest of the Americans held hostage in the Gaza Strip return home”.

In other statements, Mr. Biden estimated that the attack launched on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, had as its ultimate goal to prevent the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.