Blinken to go on new Mideast trip "in coming days" amid ceasefire chatter

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return shortly to the Middle East, a US official said Wednesday, as negotiations gather steam on a proposal to halt Israel's offensive and free Hamas-held hostages.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return shortly to the Middle East, a US official said Wednesday, as negotiations gather steam on a proposal to halt Israel's offensive and free Hamas-held hostages.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return shortly to the Middle East, a US official said Wednesday, as negotiations gather steam on a proposal to halt Israel's offensive and free Hamas-held hostages.  © ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Blinken will return to the region "in the coming days," a US official said on condition of anonymity, without specifying the destinations or dates.

It will be Blinken's fifth trip to the region since October 7, when Hamas fighters carried out an unprecedented attack inside Israel, which has in turn responded with an unrelenting military campaign in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

On each trip, Blinken has customarily visited both Israel and a number of Arab countries.

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This latest planned visit comes as Israel and Hamas consider a proposal that would freeze the fighting in return for the release of hostages.

Blinken on Monday said there was "real hope" for what he called a "good, strong proposal" mediated through Qatar.

Also Wednesday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly met in Washington with Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss humanitarian aid to Gaza and hostage releases.

Cover photo: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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