US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a stop in Cairo on Tuesday 6 February aiming to broker a Gaza truce and secure a hostage deal in the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.
Blinken’s discussions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi come on the heels of his talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.
The proposed truce, which Blinken aims to advance, calls for a six-week pause in hostilities, the release of hostages by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and increased aid for Gaza.
The outcome of his meetings with President El-Sisi will play a crucial role in shaping the path towards peace as the death toll rises and civilian casualties mount. Blinken will also be traveling later to Qatar and Israel for further negotiations.
The urgency of the situation is underscored by the relentless advancement of Israeli forces towards Rafah, a city where a significant portion of the Gaza Strip’s population has sought refuge.
On the other hand, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned on Monday 5 February that the military “will reach places where we have not yet fought, right up to the last Hamas bastion, which is Rafah,” on the Egyptian border.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has faced divisions within his cabinet and public fury over the fate of the remaining hostages, said Israel “will not accept” demands Hamas has made for an exchange involving thousands of prisoners.