US president Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel could take effect by early next week.

Speaking in New York, Biden said his national security adviser had said a ceasefire was “close” and that he hoped one could be in place by Monday.

Negotiations are underway for a weeks-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to allow for the release of hostages being held in Gaza in return for Israel releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

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The proposed six-week pause would also include allowing hundreds of trucks to deliver desperately needed aid into Gaza every day.

Negotiators face an unofficial deadline of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan around March 10.

Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said the bodies of 96 people killed in Israeli bombardments have been taken to hospitals in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, along with 144 injured.

The new fatalities take the death toll in the strip to 29,878 since the conflict began on October 7, the ministry said in its daily briefing. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, but said two-thirds of the dead were children and women.

Another 70,215 people have been wounded in Israel's attacks, it said.  The ministry said many casualties remain under the rubble and rescue workers have been unable to retrieve them amid the relentless bombing.

Elsewhere, Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinian men in the occupied West Bank early on Tuesday, Palestinian health authorities said.

The military wing of the militant group Islamic Jihad claimed the three as members.

One of those killed, identified as Mohammed Daraghmeh, 26, was a co-founder of the local branch of Islamic Jihad in the northern town of Tubas, the group said.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the men, who ranged in age from 26 to 32, were shot in the head, chest and neck.

Palestinian media reported that they were killed in the Faraa refugee camp near Tubas.

Elsewhere, Israel has failed to comply with an order by the United Nations’ top court to provide urgently needed aid to desperate people in the Gaza Strip, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, a month after a landmark ruling in The Hague.

In a preliminary response to a South African petition accusing Israel of genocide, the UN’s top court ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide.

It stopped short of ordering an end to the military offensive that has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe.

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Israel denies the charges against it, saying it is fighting in self-defence.

Preparations are under way for Israel to expand its ground operation into Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost town along the border with Egypt, where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought safety.

Early on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the army had presented to the war cabinet its operational plan for Rafah as well as plans to evacuate civilians from the battle zones.