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Back in Israel, Blinken tries to reach a deal on opening Gaza's Rafah crossing

On a second visit in four days, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in Israel after a first solidarity visit last Friday. The second visit comes against a backdrop of American efforts to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and an agreement to partially open the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.

Blinken returned to Israel after traveling to Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Shortly before landing at Ben Gurion airport, Blinken posted on the X platform, "What I’ve heard from every partner is a shared view to prevent the conflict from spreading, to safeguard innocent lives and to get assistance to those in Gaza who need it."

Sky News and Reuters reported early Monday that at least 100 trucks had arrived to the Rafah crossing loaded with hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid donated by several countries including Jordan and Turkey. The reports read that under American pressure, Israel has agreed to the opening of Rafah Monday morning for an eight-hour period to enable the entry of the humanitarian aid and the exit of foreign nationals. Still, while Blinken met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu's office clarified that Israel did not agree to the opening of Rafah. 

After his meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Neither Netanyahu not Herzog issued statements during or after their meetings with Blinken. 

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