Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, February 28, 2024

World

Blinken says will work on extending pauses in Israel to free more hostages

(In first paragraph, corrects day to Wednesday from Tuesday. In paragraph 7, corrects reference to Blinken visiting Jordan this week to say he will visit the West Bank.)

By Humeyra Pamuk

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that he would work with the Israelis during his trip to Israel in the coming days to see if a temporary ceasefire that has been in place and allowed hostages kidnapped by Hamas to go free could be extended.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels following a NATO meeting, Blinken said the continuation of the pauses would mean more hostages to be freed and more assistance getting into Gaza.

“Clearly, that’s something we want. I believe it’s also something that Israel wants,” he said.

“We’re working on that every single day and I expect to take that up tomorrow when I’m in Israel with the government,” he added.

Israel and Hamas were negotiating through mediators on Wednesday over extending a six-day pause in fighting that has seen Gaza militants free 60 Israeli women and children from among the 240 hostages they seized in a deadly rampage on Oct. 7.

In return, Israel has released 180 Palestinian security detainees, all women and teenagers.

Blinken, who also will visit the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates this week, said he would also be having conversations about the future of Gaza and a future two-state solution to the conflict.

(This story has been corrected to say Wednesday, not Tuesday, in paragraph 1 and to fix the reference to Blinken visiting Jordan this week to say he will visit the West Bank in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; additional reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Alex Richardson and Chizu Nomiyama)

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