(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) With reports of Israel preparing to send ground forces into Gaza, President Barack Obama discussed the situation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, the White House announced late on Friday.
Netanyahu called Obama "to provide an update on the situation in Israel and Gaza," the White House said.
As cross-border attacks escalated, at least 30 people have been killed in Gaza since Wednesday, according to a Palestinian government web site. Israel reported three deaths in the town of Kiryat Malachi.
Israel's Cabinet on Friday approved the activation of up to 75,000 reservists as Israel Defense Forces reported it was "mobilizing forces" in preparation for a "possible ground invasion of the Gaza Strip."
In their conversation, Netanyahu expressed to Obama his "deep appreciation" for the United States' investment in the Iron Dome rocket and mortar defense system, "which has effectively defeated hundreds of incoming rockets from Gaza and saved countless Israeli lives," the White House announcement said.
Obama "reiterated U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives," it said. The two leaders discussed options for de-escalating the situation, it added.
Obama called Mursi and "commended Egypt's efforts to de-escalate the situation and expressed his hope that these efforts would be successful," the announcement said.
"The President expressed regret for the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives, and underscored the importance of resolving the situation as quickly as possible to restore stability and prevent further loss of life," it said.
The two leaders agreed to stay in close contact during the coming days, the White House said.