John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Friday that the US is watching Israel's operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah with concern and wants the Rafah crossing reopened immediately, Reuters reported.

"We're obviously watching it with concern, of course, but I wouldn't go so far as to say what we've seen here in the last 24 hours connotes or indicates a broad, large (or) major ground operation," he added.

On the talks for a ceasefire and hostage release deal, Kirby said in-person have concluded for now with no deal, but the United States believes remaining gaps can still be surmounted.

Earlier on Friday, Axios reported that Israel’s Security Cabinet approved on Thursday night the "expansion of the area of operation" of the IDF in Rafah.

Sources familiar with the plan claimed that this would be a "measured expansion" that does not cross President Joe Biden's stated boundaries for Israel to operate in Rafah.

The US has long been vocal in its opposition to an Israeli operation in Rafah. On Wednesday, Biden warned that he would halt shipments of American weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah.

Speaking to CNN, Biden said that while the US would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, including for its Iron Dome air defense system, other shipments would end should a major ground invasion of Rafah begin.

On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller claimed that the US thinks that “a major military operation in Rafah would further weaken Israel's stance in the world. It would further create distance from its partners in the region. We actually share Israel's goal of seeing Hamas defeated and want to see Hamas replaced with a different government structure in Gaza.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)