Blinken presses Hamas to agree cease-fire deal

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Israeli leaders in his push for a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas to impress on them that “the time is now" for an agreement that would free hostages and bring a pause in the nearly seven months of war. The current round of talks appears to be serious, with Hamas considering a new proposal. But the sides remain far apart on the key issue of whether the war should end as part of an emerging deal. In talks with Blinken, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his determination to carry out an offensive on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering.

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