(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Thursday, as tensions between the two leaders deepen after the death of seven aid workers delivering food to displaced Palestinians in Gaza, according to a US official. 

Biden on Tuesday issued his most forceful criticism yet of Israel military conduct after the air strike on a convoy of workers from World Central Kitchen, a prominent disaster relief group founded by the chef José Andrés. The US for weeks has been increasing pressure on Netanyahu over civilian deaths and expressing concern about a plan to invade the population-dense Rafah region of Gaza. 

The US president in the statement Tuesday said that he was “outraged and heartbroken by the deaths,” calling for swift investigations. Biden said that Israel “has also not done enough to protect civilians.”

Read More: Biden Escalates Criticism of Israel After Aid Worker Deaths

Biden has called out the Middle Eastern ally before, but the sharply worded statement was among the most critical since Israel launched its campaign in response to Hamas’s assault on Oct. 7, 2023. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.  

The president has also been under increased political pressure from segments of the Democratic base for his support of Israel in its war against Hamas, primarily due to the impact on civilians. 

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