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U.S. pushes for Gaza truce and hostage release as Blinken visits

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will step up efforts to secure a truce in Gaza during meetings in the Middle East starting Monday, in what could be a final chance to persuade Israel to call off an attack on Rafah.

The White House said Sunday that Israel has agreed to hear out its concerns. Israel has “assured us that they won’t go into Rafah until we’ve had a chance to really share our perspectives and our concerns with them,” John Kirby, spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, told ABC News. “So we’ll see where that goes.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged U.S. President Joe Biden to intervene, telling a special edition of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh that the U.S. “is the only country capable” of stopping an Israel invasion of Rafah.

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