Israel Awaits Hamas Response to Ceasefire Plan: Live Updates

A collapsed building in Rafah, Gaza, on Sunday.debt…Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock

Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken sought to rally support for such a treaty.

Al-Aqsa, a Hamas-affiliated broadcaster, said on Sunday that Hamas was still holding consultations on the proposal, a week after it was made. The group's leaders have previously signaled significant gaps between the two sides, even as representatives from the United States, Egypt and Qatar sought common ground.

Mr. who was going to visit Saudi Arabia for the first time. Blinken hopes to lead negotiations on a series of interim agreements to end the war in Gaza, and a deal to free hostages will be central to that effort.

Jake Sullivan, President Biden's national security adviser, told CBS' “Face the Nation” on Sunday that “the ball is in Hamas' court.”

He added that a deal to free hostages, suspend fighting and allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza was “crucial”.

“We are going to press relentlessly, as the president has done, including recent calls with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, two countries that are our central brokers in this effort,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The October 7 attacks led by Hamas, which Israeli officials said killed about 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostage, sparked a war with Israel and touched off a wider crisis in the Middle East. Israel has exchanged fire with members of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthi fighters, who control part of Yemen, have opened fire on ships sailing from the Suez Canal.

Other pro-Iranian militias have launched attacks against US bases in the region, including the recent killing of three US soldiers in Jordan.

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The United States has responded to Houthi attacks, including on Sunday, and launched separate military strikes this weekend against Iranian forces and the militias they support at seven bases in Syria and Iraq in response to the Jordanian offensive. Top US national security officials said on Sunday that further retaliation against Iran-backed militants is still planned.

But Mr. Sullivan said he believed those efforts were a separate issue from negotiations to reach a ceasefire agreement, which both sides walked away from after a week-long standoff in November.

“We believe that the actions we took on Friday and the actions we took against the Houthis last night were not connected to the hostage negotiations,” he told NBC's “Meet the Press.” “Now, at this point, we believe that it is Hamas that will come forward and respond to a serious proposal.”

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