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Blinken returns to Middle East in high-stakes push for Gaza cease-fire

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region to push for a cease-fire as the UN Security Council was set to vote on a US-drafted resolution supporting the deal.
The aircraft of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks his aircraft as he arrives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, on June 10, 2024.

​​WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to the Middle East on Monday, stopping first in Egypt and Israel on the heels of a dramatic Israeli rescue operation that freed four hostages but killed scores of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

Blinken’s trip to the region — his eighth since Oct. 7 — comes more than a week after President Joe Biden outlined a three-phase proposal to end the war between Israel and Hamas, neither of which have explicitly endorsed the deal. Following his meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose country has been a key mediator in the cease-fire talks, Blinken described the Palestinian militant group as the only obstacle to a deal. 

“My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region, is if you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say yes," Blinken said before departing for Tel Aviv. 

Blinken traveled to Israel to secure support for the proposed cease-fire during meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Later in the week, Blinken will also visit Jordan to attend a humanitarian conference on Gaza and Qatar, which is helping mediate a potential cease-fire agreement. 

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