CAIRO (NEWSnet/AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to the Middle East this week, on his eighth diplomatic mission to the region since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

A proposed Israel-Hamas cease-fire deal is still on hold after days of view; amid dramatic rescue of four Israeli hostages held in Gaza in a military raid and turmoil in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Blinken’s trip this week includes meetings with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo before he travels  to Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

While President Joe Biden, Blinken and other U.S. officials have praised the hostage rescue, the operation resulted in the deaths of a large number of Palestinian civilians that may complicate the cease-fire push by emboldening Israel and hardening Hamas’ resolve to carry on fighting in the war it initiated with its Oct. 7 attacks in Israel.

“It’s hard to say how Hamas will process this particular operation and what it will do to its determination about whether it will say yes or not,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Sunday. “We have not gotten a formal answer from Hamas at this time.”

World Food Program Pauses Work at Gaza Pier


The director of the U.N. World Food Program said Sunday the program has “paused” its distribution of humanitarian aid from an American-built pier off Gaza.

The director said she was “concerned about the safety of our people” after the Israeli raid on Saturday that freed four hostages but left 274 Palestinians and one Israeli commando dead.

In the meantime, Cindy McCain said, two of WFP’s warehouses in Gaza had been “rocketed” and a staffer injured.

Israeli Cabinet Shakeup


Benny Gantz, a centrist member of Israel’s three-man war Cabinet, announced his resignation Sunday, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of mismanaging the war effort and putting his own “political survival” over the country’s security needs.

Netanyahu still controls a majority coalition in parliament.

But with Gantz stepping out, the Israeli leader becomes more heavily reliant on far-right allies who oppose the latest U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal.

Follow NEWSnet on Facebook and X platform to get our headlines in your social feeds.

Copyright 2024 NEWSnet and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.