US President Joe Biden has admitted the hostages in Hamas' hands, including a number of US citizens, are "obviously" in danger if Israel launches its anticipated ground invasion of Gaza.
But he denied demanding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the invasion be delayed.
"What I have indicated to him is that if that's possible, to get these folks out safely, that's what he should do," he said at a press conference this morning.
"It is their decision. But I did not demand it."
Biden also denied that moving US military assets into the region signalled an expansion of the war.
He said they were there to prevent any escalation.
"My warning to (Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) is, if they continue to move against those troops, we will respond and he should be prepared," Biden said.
"It has nothing to do with Israel."
The Wall Street Journal this morning reported that the US asked Israel to hold off on its invasion as it strengthened its air defences around its own bases and assets in the Middle East.
Hospitals will be 'mass graves' as Gaza crisis worsens: doctor
Meanwhile, Israel's airstrikes on Gaza continue, with hospitals unable to meet the needs of residents.
The Hamas-run health authority says close to 6500 people have so far been killed in the strikes.