US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to Middle East for ceasefire talks amid Israel-Hamas conflict

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to Middle East for ceasefire talks amid Israel-Hamas conflict

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Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Sunday that it was hard to say what impact the rescue operation would have on the ceasefire talks.

“If Hamas were to come forward and say yes to the agreement, the need for these types of operations would disappear because the hostages would be released peacefully, not through military action,” Sullivan told ABC News.

In Egypt, Blinken is also expected to talk to Sisi about a solution to opening the key crossing into Gaza at Rafah.

The months-long blockade has worsened the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, sending prices of scarce commodities soaring and raising United Nations fears of famine in the blockaded territory.

Israel has recaptured the crossing from Hamas and blamed Egypt for the incident.

Egypt, the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, has hit back, saying drivers feel unsafe passing through what is now an Israeli checkpoint.

Blinken was heading to the region from France, where he accompanied Biden on a state visit that marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings of Allied forces in German-occupied Normandy.

Blinken will also visit two more key Arab partners, Jordan and Qatar, before returning to Italy on Wednesday to join Biden at the Group of Seven summit.

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