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Israel-Gaza live updates: Delegations leave Cairo without cease-fire deal

Written by on May 9, 2024

People walk in a camp for displaced people in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip by the border with Egypt on April 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — As the Israel-Hamas war approaches the seven-month mark, renewed negotiations are underway to secure the release of hostages taken by the terrorist organization, as Israeli forces continue to prepare for an apparent invasion of the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 09, 11:50 AM
Delegations leave Cairo without cease-fire deal

The delegations for Hamas and Israel have left Cairo without a cease-fire deal, Israeli and Egyptian officials said.

Hamas said earlier in the week that they had agreed to a cease-fire proposal, prompting celebration from both sides, but Israel soon after said the deal was not the one it had proposed and included “significant gaps.” However, Israel committed to send negotiators to Egypt anyway in hopes of coming to an agreement on a cease-fire deal that would also likely include the release of hostages held in Gaza.

It is unclear when negotiations will resume.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller and Ayat Al-Tawy

May 09, 11:41 AM
80,000 have fled Rafah in recent days: UNRWA

As the Israeli military steps up attacks in the southern Gaza enclave of Rafah in preparation for an apparent large-scale incursion, about 80,000 people have now fled, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the U.N. relief agency in Gaza.

“The toll on these families is unbearable. Nowhere is safe,” UNRWA said in a post on social media.

About 1.5 million people were living in Rafah recently after Israel directed people in the north to flee south during its initial incursion into the Gaza Strip. The U.S. has warned Israel against a large-scale attack in Rafah unless an evacuation plan can be carried out first.

May 09, 10:35 AM
First aid ship leaves Cyprus for US-built pier off of Gaza

The first ship carrying aid for Gaza that will be offloaded at the floating military pier assembled off of Gaza has left Cyprus, according to the Pentagon.

The plan is for the aid aboard the M/V Sagamore to be staged onto the military ship M/V Roy P. Benavidez so that it can then be loaded onto trucks at a floating dock and then driven ashore off the floating pier. That dock and pier are fully assembled but are not currently off Gaza.

The dock and pier had to be moved to calmer waters off Ashdod, Israel, but once the mooring point in Gaza stabilizes they’ll be moved into position to begin the opening of the maritime corridor for aid for Gaza.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez and Anne Flaherty

May 08, 7:16 PM
Hamas fired at area where IDF is preparing for pier, IDF says

Hamas operatives fired “mortar shells” toward the “engineering work area” where Israel Defense Forces troops are conducting preparations for the U.S. military’s humanitarian pier near Gaza earlier Wednesday, the IDF said in a response to an inquiry from ABC News.

The U.S. military began building the pier off the coast of Gaza last month to establish a maritime corridor to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza.

May 08, 6:40 PM
Biden says US weapons have been used to kill civilians in Gaza

President Joe Biden said on CNN Wednesday that American bombs have been used to kill civilians in Gaza and doubled down on the administration’s plan to withhold weapons that Israel could use in a Rafah invasion.

Following the news that the U.S. has paused a munitions shipment to Israel, CNN anchor Erin Burnett asked whether any of the U.S. bombs sent to Israel have been used to kill civilians in Gaza.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden responded.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah — they haven’t gone in Rafah yet — if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, that deal with that problem,” he continued.

Biden said the U.S. will “continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently.”

“But it’s, it’s just wrong,” he said. “We’re not going to — we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used, that have been used.”

Burnett also sought to nail down Biden’s view of what Israel is doing in Rafah right now, and if the president believes that qualifies as a major ground invasion.

“No, they haven’t gone into the population centers,” he said. “What they did is right on the border. And it’s causing problems with, right now in terms of — with Egypt, which I’ve worked very hard to make sure we have a relationship and help.”

“But I’ve made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet, they’re not going to get our support, if in fact they go in these population centers,” he continued.

May 08, 5:08 PM
Aid blocked at Kerem Shalom due to ‘security concerns,’ no fuel allowed through, US says

Although the Biden administration said it expected the Kerem Shalom and Rafah gates to be at least partially opened for humanitarian aid by Wednesday, the State Department was much less optimistic. However, the U.S. vowed it would continue to press Israel to get both portals up and running again.

While Kerem Shalom reopened Wednesday, aid had not been allowed to pass through because of “logistical and security concerns on the ground,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said during a briefing Wednesday. He also said fuel had not been able to enter Gaza through Rafah.

“We think it’s critical that Rafah be open for fuel because without fuel deliveries into Rafah, humanitarian assistance that comes in through Kerem Shalom can’t actually be delivered. The two are critically linked,” Miller said. “We’re continuing to push for that to happen.”

Miller didn’t provide any updated timeline on when the U.S. expected the crossings would be functional again, but said it was imperative that Israel act to increase the amount of aid allowed into Gaza following what he described as a “fairly dramatic dip” this week.

“When it comes to the level of humanitarian assistance, the results as they are today are just unacceptable. There’s no other way to put it,” Miller lamented.

He continued, “We are making quite clear to the government of Israel that we need to see those decreases reversed. We need to get back to where we were, and we need to see the levels continue to increase and see those sustained, and that is why we need to see Kerem Shalom and Rafah opened.”

May 08, 12:02 PM
Gaza Health Ministry says it has uncovered another mass grave at Al-Shifa Hospital

The Gaza Health Ministry said its medical teams have found a third mass grave inside Al-Shifa Hospital’s medical complex.

The health ministry has recovered 49 bodies so far as the exhumation process continues.

The ministry said this is the seventh mass grave found by medical teams inside hospitals — one in Kamal Adwan Hospital, three in the Shifa Medical Complex and three in the Nasser Medical Complex. A total of 520 bodies have been recovered from the graves.

In April, the Israel Defense Forces denied accusations from the ministry that they buried at least 283 bodies in a mass grave near Nasser Hospital in Gaza. The IDF alleged that during its operation near the area of Nasser Hospital, it examined corpses in that area in an effort to locate hostages.

May 08, 11:25 AM
Austin confirms US paused 1 shipment to Israel

The U.S. has paused a munitions shipment to Israel, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed Wednesday, warning that a major Israeli operation in Rafah could change the U.S. calculus on security assistance.

Austin is the first senior administration official to publicly confirm the U.S. pause on military aid but added that no “final determination” has been made.

“We are currently reviewing some near-term security assistance shipments in the context of unfolding events in Rafah,” Austin told a Senate subcommittee, emphasizing that supplemental funding the administration just passed is not in jeopardy.

“We’ve been very clear, senator, as you know, from the very beginning that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack on Rafah without accounting for and protecting those civilians that are hitting that battlespace. And, again as we have assessed the situation, we paused one shipment of high payload munitions.”

Austin maintained that the U.S.-Israel alliance is “ironclad.”

-ABC News’ Chris Boccia

May 08, 11:23 AM
WHO says major hospital in Rafah no longer functioning

One of the three hospitals in Rafah, Al-Najjar, is no longer functioning due to the ongoing hostilities in its vicinity and Israel’s military operation, according to the World Health Organization.

“Hospitals in the south of Gaza only have three days of fuel left, which means services may soon come to a halt,” the WHO warned.

The closure of the border crossing continues to prevent the entry of fuel needed for aid operations; without fuel all humanitarian operations will stop, the WHO warned. Border closures are also impeding delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza, the WHO said.

“At a time when fragile humanitarian operations urgently require expansion, the Rafah military operation is further limiting our ability to reach thousands of people who have been living in dire conditions without adequate food, sanitation, health services and security. This must stop now,” the WHO said.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 08, 10:50 AM
Israel says it has opened the Kerem Shalom crossing

Israel said it has reopened the Kerem Shalom Crossing Wednesday for the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

“Trucks from Egypt carrying humanitarian aid, including food, water, shelter equipment, medicine, and medical equipment donated by the international community are already arriving at the crossing. After a thorough security inspection by the security personnel of the Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority, the equipment will be transferred to the Gazan side of the crossing,” Israel said in a statement.

Israel had closed the crossing after it said Hamas fired a rocket toward the area over the weekend, killing four Israeli soldiers.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 07, 4:56 PM
30 killed in Rafah as people start evacuating

Thirty people, including six children and eight women, have been killed and 146 others were injured in Rafah on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Al Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah told ABC News.

People in at least six neighborhoods have started evacuating in eastern Rafah.

“With more than 1.5 million civilians crowded into this sliver of land, an Israeli military escalation threatens to turn Rafah into a graveyard. We are calling for an immediate and sustained ceasefire to prevent more civilian deaths and injuries in Gaza and enable the urgent scale-up of humanitarian aid. The survival of civilians in Gaza depends on it,” Avril Benoît, executive director of Doctors Without Borders USA.

Aid groups, including the International Rescue Committee, have called on Israel to halt its ground incursion in Rafah and across Gaza, warning that civilians have no place to go.

“The dire warnings of aid groups have materialized: Israeli forces have launched a ground incursion into eastern Rafah and have taken control of the Palestinian side of the border crossing. Over a million civilians are now in imminent danger and aid flow through the Rafah crossing has halted with no aid trucks entering since May 5,” said Bob Kitchen, IRC vice president of emergencies.

“Already, dozens of civilians are reported to have been killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes on Rafah City, while hundreds of thousands more remain at grave risk from the threat of further conflict and a lack of access to life-saving assistance. It is unconscionable to target such a densely populated area, leaving 1.3 million people with no safe haven,” Kitchen said.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman and Will Gretsky

May 07, 3:51 PM
White House expects Kerem Shalom crossing to open, fuel to be delivered through Rafah Wednesday

The White House expects the Kerem Shalom crossing to reopen on Wednesday, but are working to move up that timeline to get vital humanitarian assistance into northern Gaza even sooner.

“Israel has committed to reopening the Kerem Shalom,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told ABC News. “We’ve been told that that’s going to happen tomorrow. We are working to move that up.”

“Fuel deliveries through Rafah should also commence tomorrow. That’s what we’ve been told. And we believe Rafah border crossing should also be quickly reopened for the movement of humanitarian assistance. We are insisting that there should be no disruptions of humanitarian assistance flows,” Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre would not say if the U.S. still expects the Israelis to alert them when they do plan to go ahead with a full-scale operation in Rafah, but reiterated that they do not support the IDF carrying that out.

“We do not want to see a major operation happening in Rafah. We want to see a plan, a comprehensive plan, on how Israel plans to protect the 1.5, more than 1 million civilians that are currently seeking refuge in Rafah,” Jean-Pierre said.

-ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Justin Gomez

May 07, 3:03 PM
Israeli hostage declared dead

Lior Rudaeff, 61, an Israeli hostage taken by Hamas, has been declared dead, after being killed in the Oct. 7 attack, the Hostage Release Center said.

Rudaeff volunteered as an ambulance driver. He was married to his wife, Yaffa, for 38 years and had four children: Noam, Nadav, Bar and Ben.

“The Israeli government has a profound moral duty to pursue every avenue in the current negotiations to bring Lior home. He deserves a dignified burial in his homeland, alongside the 38 other hostages brutally murdered. The government must also secure the swift return of all living hostages, so they can begin the long road to healing and recovery,” a spokesperson for the Hostage Release Center said in a statement Tuesday.

The bodies of 35 hostages who have been declared dead continue to be held by Hamas.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 07, 2:37 PM
Situation in Rafah is not yet a major ground invasion, US says

The White House is watching the situation that is playing out in Rafah “very, very closely,” but arguing that based on what Isarel has told them, this is not equivalent to the full-scale invasion the U.S. has been warning Israel against undertaking, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.

“We’ve been told by our Israeli counterparts this operation last night was limited and designed to cut off from Hamas’ ability to smuggle weapons and funds into Gaza. Our views on Rafah remain the same. We’ve repeatedly and consistently expressed those views about a major operation in Rafah in densely populated areas that would give higher risk to civilians and civilian casualties,” Kirby said.

“President Biden made that very clear yesterday when he spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu as I said yesterday, and we’re going to be monitoring this situation very closely to see how it unfolds,” Kirby said.

Kirby was also asked if he believes that Isarel was abiding by international law, given the two main arteries to get aid into Gaza have been choked off. Kirby sidestepped the questions, underscoring the U.S. desire to get more aid into Gaza and Biden’s explicit ask of Netanyahu to make sure that happens during their call Monday.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

May 07, 2:32 PM
Hamas delegation back in Cairo for negotiations

Hamas’ delegation has arrived in Cairo as cease-fire negotiations continue with mediators in Egypt and Qatar.

Hamas said Monday it had agreed to a cease-fire deal, but Israel said the agreement included “significant gaps” that needed to be worked out in negotiations.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 07, 12:41 PM
Biden administration delaying ammunition deliveries to Israel: Sources

The Biden administration is delaying shipments of ammunition that were expected to be sent to Israel, according to three U.S. officials.

The Biden administration has been trying to pressure Israel to hold off on a full-scale invasion of Rafah until it has a plan to protect the million civilians now living there.

The Air Force has been told by the White House’s National Security Council to pause shipments of ammunition deliveries specifically from Dover Air Force Base, according to a U.S. official. The NSC was behind the decision to pause the munitions, a second U.S. official confirmed.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, Anne Flaherty, Matt Seyler and Ben Siegel

May 07, 12:41 PM
Republican leaders blast Biden over reports US is withholding aid to Israel

House Speaker Mike Johnson and Majority Leader Steve Scalise have publicly accused the Biden administration of withholding aid to Israel following reports that some aid shipments have been halted. Johnson said that the Biden administration as recently as Friday had assured his staff that there would be “no delay” in assistance to Israel.

Johnson said he received a report this morning from on the ground in Israel that said “a shipload of munitions and precision weapons, which are to be used to help protect civilians and Rafah, is being withheld.”

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Senate Republicans Jodi Ernst and Ted Budd said they are “shocked” and “deeply concerned” that the Biden administration failed to notify Congress before withholding ammunition to Israel.

“If these reports are true, then you have once again broken your promise to an American ally,” they said.

-ABC News’ Lauren Peller and Shannon Crawford

May 07, 12:07 PM
Netanyahu says Hamas’ proposal intended to ‘torpedo’ Rafah operation

In his first comments since Israel’s offensive into Rafah began, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas’ cease-fire proposal on Monday was “intended to torpedo the entry of our forces into Rafah.”

“It did not happen. As the War Cabinet unanimously determined, the Hamas proposal is very far from Israel’s necessary requirements,” Netanyahu said.

“I instructed the working-level delegation that went to Cairo: continue to stand firm on the conditions necessary for the release of our abductees, continue to stand firm on the essential requirements for guaranteeing Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 07, 3:39 AM
Israeli tanks control Rafah border crossing, IDF says

Israeli tanks controlled Gaza’s Rafah border crossing early Tuesday, as military officials accused Hamas of using the crossing for “terrorist purposes.”

“Following intelligence that indicated that the Rafah Crossing in eastern Rafah was being used for terrorist purposes, IDF troops managed to establish operational control of the Gazan side of the crossing,” Israel Defense Forces officials said in a statement.

Mortars had on Sunday been fired “from the area,” killing four IDF soldiers, the Israeli military said.

A video and photos taken by the Israeli military and released Tuesday appeared to show several Israeli tanks operating on the Gazan side of the border.

May 07, 2:57 AM
Israeli troops enter Rafah in ‘precise’ operation, taking control of border crossing

The Israeli military moved into eastern Rafah late Monday to begin a “precise counterterrorism operation” targeting Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday.

IDF troops also took “operational control” of the Gazan side of the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, officials said in a statement.

The operation in Rafah overnight included air strikes and on-the-ground troops, the military said. About 20 “terrorists” were killed and three tunnels were located, IDF officials said.

“IDF ground troops are continuing to operate against Hamas terrorist operatives and infrastructure in the area of the Rafah Crossing in eastern Rafah,” the statement said.

May 06, 6:36 PM
Qatar to send mediators to Cairo

Qatar will send a delegation of mediators to Cairo on Tuesday to work on negotiations for a cease-fire deal, according to a spokesperson for the Qatari Foreign Ministry.

In a statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said they hope “talks will culminate in reaching an agreement for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the exchange of prisoners and detainees, and the sustainable flow of humanitarian aid into all areas of the Strip.”

May 06, 5:47 PM
IDF spokesperson warns people in eastern Rafah to evacuate

As cease-fire talks continue, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari again warned Palestinians in the eastern part of the city to evacuate.

“Tonight, we also call upon those staying in specific areas which we have communicated and defined through every means — radio, media, internet, and flyers — in eastern Rafah, to move towards the expanded humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi and Khan Yunis, where they will receive full humanitarian aid and where water, food, medical equipment, and shelter will be provided,” Hagari said.

May 06, 4:31 PM
Israeli Minister Gantz says current Hamas proposal has ‘significant gaps’

Israeli Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement Monday the current proposal put forth by Hamas “has significant gaps.”

“Despite this, we continue to turn over every stone and a delegation will go to Cairo,” he added.

Gantz said “every decision will be brought to the war cabinet,” which is made up of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and himself.

May 06, 4:17 PM
‘We are at a critical stage right now’ in negotiations, NSC spokesperson says

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the U.S. is reviewing the Hamas response to a cease-fire proposal.

Kirby did not reveal many specifics about where negotiations stand, but said they’ve reached a “critical stage.”

“I don’t know that it gets any more sensitive than right now,” Kirby said. “And the worst thing that we can do start speculating about what’s in it.”

May 06, 3:41 PM
Israeli army continues attacks in Rafah even as delegation sent to negotiate cease-fire

With negotiations underway for a cease-fire agreement, Israel’s war cabinet said they would continue military operations in Rafah.

Israel will also send a delegation of mediators to work on a possible deal.

There have been at least 50 IDF strikes Monday on Rafah, officials said.

May 06, 3:36 PM
Israel has received response from Hamas on cease-fire proposal

A senior Israeli official with knowledge of negotiations said they have received a response from Hamas on a cease-fire proposal.

It is not the same proposal that had been under discussion, the official said, adding that it will now be studied.

It will take some time before Israel officially responds, the official added.

Israel’s war cabinet is now holding a discussion, according to an Israeli political source.

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Israel will study every option to bring home hostages, including the latest response from Hamas, and said they would continue operations in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the Israeli Hostage Center urged the government to accept the deal. 

“We welcome the announcement by Hamas to promote the ceasefire, which promotes the return of the 132 abductees who have been held captive by Hamas for 7 months,” it said. “Now is the time for the Israeli government to prove in action its commitment to its citizens — the cabinet must take the consent of Hamas and turn it into a deal for the return of all! The return of the kidnapped is the key to Israeli security!”

May 06, 2:29 PM
US still trying to get full understanding of deal Hamas has accepted

The United States said it could confirm Hamas had issued a response to a recent cease-fire proposal, but is still trying to figure out the details of the apparent deal.

“We are reviewing that response now and discussing it with our partners in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a briefing. “As you know, [CIA] Director [Bill] Burns is in the region working on this in real time. We will be discussing this response with our partners over the coming hours. We continue to believe that they asked them to do what is in the best interest of the Israeli people.”

But Miller didn’t suggest the U.S. had a full understanding of exactly what Hamas had agreed to yet.

“We have only received a response in the last hour, 90 minutes,” he said. “So I don’t want to characterize the nature of that just yet.”

Miller also declined to say whether the U.S. believes the military and political factions of Hamas were on the same page.

“I’m just not going to speak for Hamas at all, as we have said for some time, there has been a significant offer on the table. The ball has been in Hamas’ court, we have made clear that they should accept that offer,” he said.

May 06, 1:28 PM
Hamas says it has accepted proposal regarding cease-fire agreement

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, said in a statement the group has called the prime minister of Qatar and Egyptian minister of intelligence “and informed them of the Hamas movement’s approval of their proposal regarding the ceasefire agreement.”

While few specifics were provided, senior Hamas leader Taher Al-Nono said the proposal “includes a ceasefire, reconstruction, the return of the displaced, and the liberation of prisoners.”

Al-Nono said representatives would visit Cairo in the near future to discuss the agreement.

A deal has not been confirmed or commented on by other parties, including Israel. ABC News has requested comment from Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the U.S. on the apparent agreement.

-ABC News’ Nasser Atta

May 06, 12:59 PM
Hamas says it has accepted proposal regarding cease-fire agreement

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, said in a statement the group has called the prime minister of Qatar and Egyptian minister of intelligence “and informed them of the Hamas movement’s approval of their proposal regarding the ceasefire agreement.”

There were no further details about conditions of the cease-fire agreement.

A deal has not been confirmed or commented on by other parties, including Israel. ABC News has requested comment from Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the U.S. on the apparent agreement.

-ABC News’ Nasser Atta
 

May 06, 12:33 PM
Pentagon says it still hasn’t seen ‘credible’ plan to protect civilians in Rafah

The Pentagon said it still hasn’t seen a “credible” plan from Israel on how it will protect some 1 million civilians in Rafah in the case of an invasion.

“We’ve seen kind of a concept, but nothing detailed at this point,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Monday morning.

He noted that the subject was raised Sunday by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a phone call with Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, but he declined to say what policy changes the U.S. might consider if Israel begins a full-scale invasion of Rafah without that credible plan.

Austin is scheduled to testify Wednesday, the same day the administration is required by law to tell Congress whether it agrees with Israel that its government complies with humanitarian law.

Israeli army tanks take position in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 6, 2024.
“I think there are still concerns in terms of the, again, given the number of people there and how you’re going to take into account the safety and well-being of the million-plus people that are in Rafah as any operation commences,” Ryder said. “Again, we agree with our Israeli partners on the importance of defeating Hamas and preventing them from being able to conduct attacks like they’ve done in the past. But we want to see that operation done in a way that again, takes into account civilians, takes into account how you’re going to evacuate them off the battlefield. So those conversations will continue.”

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

May 06, 11:07 AM
Biden speaks with Netanyahu as Rafah invasion looms, source says

President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, a source confirmed to ABC News.

Biden was expected to again reiterate his position on Rafah, urging restraint when it comes to an invasion of the enclave holding more than 1 million Gaza refugees, as he did when they last spoke on April 28.

Click here to read more about the conversation.

-ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Justin Gomez

May 06, 10:40 AM
Biden speaks with Netanyahu as Rafah invasion looms, source says

President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, a source confirmed to ABC News.

Biden was expected to again reiterate his position on Rafah, urging restraint when it comes to an invasion of the enclave holding more than 1 million Gaza refugees, as he did when they last spoke on April 28.

-ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Justin Gomez

May 06, 9:35 AM
Biden to speak with Netanyahu as Rafah invasion looms, source says

President Joe Bien will speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, a source confirmed to ABC News.

Biden is likely to again reiterate his position on Rafah, urging restraint when it comes to an invasion of the enclave holding more than 1 million Gaza refugees, as he did when they last spoke on April 28.

-ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Justin Gomez

May 06, 7:29 AM
IDF jets strike Rafah overnight

Israeli military jets targeted areas of Rafah overnight, striking “terror targets” and military structures, including a sniper’s nest, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday.

The strike included areas of Rafah “from which projectiles were launched toward the area of Kerem Shalom yesterday,” IDF officials said on Telegram.

There were no immediate reports of injuries following Monday’s strikes. IDF strikes on Sunday had killed at least 12 people in Rafah.

-ABC News’ Kevin Shalvey and Joe Simonetti

May 06, 6:06 AM
IDF drops flyers in Rafah, warning of danger

Israeli aircraft on Monday began dropping flyers in eastern Rafah, warning thousands of people sheltering in the city that they may be in danger ahead of a possible Israeli operation.

“The IDF will be operating against the terrorist organizations in the area where you are located, as it has operated until now,” the flyers read in Arabic, according to a translation provided by the Israel Defense Forces. “Anyone found near terrorist organisations endangers themselves and their family members.”

The flyers included directions for an evacuation, including information about the humanitarian area near Al-Mawasi, Israel said.

-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti and Kevin Shalvey

May 06, 4:36 AM
UN agency says it won’t evacuate Rafah

The U.N. Agency for Palestine Refugees said Monday it wouldn’t begin to evacuate its staff from Rafah, adding that a possible Israeli invasion into the refugee city would be “devastating.”

“UNRWA is not evacuating: the Agency will maintain a presence in Rafah as long as possible & will continue providing lifesaving aid to people,” the group said in a statement.

An invasion into the city “would mean more civilian suffering & deaths,” the agency said.

-ABC News’ Kevin Shalvey

May 06, 3:42 AM
IDF warns Rafah civilians to move to humanitarian area

Israeli military officials on Monday issued a warning to civilians in eastern Rafah to begin a “gradual movement” to a humanitarian area.

“Calls to temporarily move to the humanitarian area will be conveyed through flyers, SMS messages, phone calls and media broadcasts in Arabic,” Israel Defense Forces officials said in a statement posted to social media.

Israel said a humanitarian area around Al-Mawasi, a coastal town, had been expanded “to accommodate the increased levels of aid flowing into Gaza.” That aid included new field hospitals and additional food and water, IDF officials said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said last week that Israel would call for an evacuation of civilians prior to beginning its planned invasion into the southern Gaza city. Israeli officials haven’t yet detailed a timeline for the expected operation.

“The IDF will continue pursuing Hamas everywhere in Gaza until all the hostages that they’re holding in captivity are back home,” IDF officials said Monday.

-ABC News’ Kevin Shalvey

May 05, 11:36 AM
Hamas says negotiations in Cairo have concluded

Hamas said Sunday that negotiations in Cairo have concluded and that its delegation will leave Cairo tonight.

May 05, 11:02 AM
Israeli defense minister signals ‘action in Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip in the near future’

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant toured part of the Gaza Strip on Sunday before speaking with reserve fighters in the division’s brigades, Israel’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

“We recognize alarming signs that Hamas actually does not intend to go to any outline agreement with us, the meaning of this — action in Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip in the near future,” Gallant said, in part.

May 05, 8:51 AM
Israel shuts Kerem Shalom crossing to humanitarian aid after rockets fired from Rafah, IDF says

Several people were injured Sunday and sent to the hospital after approximately 10 “projectile launches” crossed from an area adjacent to the Rafah crossing toward Kerem Shalom on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is now closed to humanitarian aid trucks, the IDF said.

According to the IDF, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

May 05, 8:43 AM
Netanyahu says Israel won’t agree to Hamas’ demands

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday regarding the talks for the release of hostages, claiming Hamas is “preventing the release of our abductees.”

“Israel was and still is ready to make a truce in the fighting to free our abductees. This is what we did when we released 124 hostages, and returned to fight — and this is what we are ready to do today,” he said Sunday in comments translated from Hebrew.

Throughout negotiations, Israel has “demonstrated a willingness to go a long way,” Netanyahu said, adding that Hamas “remained entrenched in its extreme positions, chief among them the demand to withdraw all our forces from the Strip, end the war and leave Hamas intact.”

Netanyahu said Israel “cannot accept this,” and that “surrendering to the demands of Hamas would be a terrible defeat.”

“Therefore, Israel will not agree to Hamas’s demands, which mean surrender, and will continue the fighting until all its goals are achieved,” he added.

Netanyahu’s comments come a day after an Israeli official told ABC News that Israel will not agree to end the war as part of any potential deal.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said Sunday that Hamas is keen on reaching a comprehensive cease-fire that “ends the aggression, guarantees withdrawal, and achieves a serious prisoner exchange deal.”

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller and Nasser Atta

May 04, 5:07 PM
Israeli official responds to US opposition on potential IDF operation in Rafah

An Israeli official responded to the Biden administration’s opposition to a military ground operation in Rafah saying, “we don’t see eye to eye on everything, but we have been able to overcome differences”.

The official added that, “Israel is a sovereign country that acts in accordance with its critical national interest.”

-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge

May 04, 7:04 AM
Israel will not agree to end the war with Hamas as part of any deal

An Israeli official has told ABC News that Israel will not agree to end the war as part of any potential deal.

“Israel will under no circumstances agree to the end of the war as part of an agreement to release our abductees,” an Israeli official told ABC News on Saturday morning.

“As the political echelon decided, the IDF will enter Rafah and destroy the remaining Hamas battalions there – whether or not there will be a temporary ceasefire for the release of our hostages.”

May 03, 7:20 PM
US ramps up pressure on Qatar to oust Hamas: Official

The U.S. has ramped up diplomatic pressure on Qatar to expel Hamas leaders from the country in recent weeks, an official familiar with the matter told ABC News.

This development comes as Qatar and other intermediaries between the U.S. and Hamas have struggled to effectively negotiate with the group on a cease-fire agreement, repeatedly expressing confidence the group will accept certain terms that Hamas leaders later reject.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed in the days following the Oct. 7 attacks that the Middle East could not continue carrying out “business as usual” with Hamas.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

May 03, 5:19 PM
Hamas delegation returning to Cairo in ‘spirit to reach an agreement’

A Hamas delegation is returning to Egypt on Saturday to continue negotiations for a cease-fire with Israel.

The group released a statement stating leadership had a “positive spirit” in response to the cease-fire proposal that was offered.

“We are going to Cairo in the same spirit to reach an agreement,” the group said in a statement.

“We in [the] Hamas movement and the Palestinian resistance forces are determined to mature the agreement, in a way that fulfills the demands of our people for a complete cessation of aggression, the withdrawal of the occupation forces, the return of the displaced, relief for our people, the start of reconstruction, and the completion of a serious exchange deal.”
-ABC News’ Dia Ostaz

May 03, 4:43 PM
USAID announces $200 million aid to Gaza, other conflict zones

The U.S. will put $200 million toward addressing acute hunger in conflict zones around the world, including Gaza, USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced Friday.

The money will go toward maximizing the procurement, production and distribution of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a nutrient-filled, peanut-based paste that is particularly useful for addressing malnutrition in children under 5 years old, in places like Gaza, Sudan and Haiti, a USAID official told ABC News.

In Gaza, USAID partners are already distributing RUTF, and the agency plans to ship additional RUTF supplies into the enclave from Kenya via the maritime corridor soon, the official added.

Humanitarian groups and the United Nations have warned for weeks about the threat of a full-fledged famine in Gaza as the conflict continues.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

May 03, 2:15 PM
CIA director arrives in Cairo for cease-fire negotiations: Officials

CIA Director Bill Burns landed in Cairo to continue negotiations on the current proposal for a cease-fire and hostage deal, one Egyptian official and one U.S. official told ABC News.

A Hamas delegation will go back to Cairo on Saturday to resume negotiations, a senior Egyptian official told state-owned Al-Qahera News TV on Friday.

-ABC News’ Ayat Al-Tawy in Cairo and Cindy Smith

May 03, 2:09 PM
US briefed on initial plan for evacuations before Rafah invasion: Official

The U.S. has been briefed on some of the Israeli plans for humanitarian evacuations from Gaza ahead of a Rafah operation, an official with knowledge told ABC News.

The official stressed this is not a final plan.

-ABC News’ Selina Wang

May 03, 11:27 AM
Houthis threaten ships in Red Sea if Israel carries out Rafah operation

The Houthis threatened to “prevent all ships of these companies from passing through” the Red Sea if the Israeli operation in Rafah goes forward in a social media post Friday.

The Iranian-backed paramilitary group said in a Telegram post that if Israel goes through with its plans it would “impose comprehensive sanctions on all ships of companies that are related to supplying and entering the occupied Palestinian ports of any nationality.”

The Houthis, who have attacked U.S.- and U.K-flagged commercial ships since the Israel-Hamas conflict began, said they would “not hesitate to prepare for broader and stronger stages of escalation.”

-ABC News’ Cindy Smith and Ellie Kaufman

May 02, 5:21 PM
Turkey halts all trade with Israel

Turkey’s Ministry of Trade announced Thursday that it would cease all exports and imports with Israel due to the deteriorating situation in the ongoing conflict.

“Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli government allows the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Engin Bas

May 02, 5:08 PM
Israeli hostage confirmed dead

Dror Or, one of the Israeli citizens kidnapped on Oct. 7, is dead, Kibbutz Be’eri said Thursday.

Or, 49, a father of three, was killed during the Hamas attack that day and his body was taken into Gaza, according to the group.

Or’s death was determined by several groups including the Israeli Ministry of Health, intelligence agencies, the Israel Police, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the chief rabbi of Israel, according to Kibbutz Be’eri.

Or was kidnapped along with two of his children, Noam, 17, and Alma, 13, on Oct. 7. The teens were returned to Israel during an earlier deal, according to Kibbutz Be’eri.

There are currently 129 Israeli hostages still in captivity. Thirty-five hostages have been killed.

-ABC News’ Dana Savir and Jordana Miller

May 02, 4:11 PM
Gaza’s economic development set back by 20 years, UN report says

The toll of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Gaza is so severe that it has set economic development in Gaza back by 20 years, a report released Thursday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

The poverty rate in the country is now at 58.4% and projections indicate it could rise in three months to 60.7%, according to the report. Roughly 1.86 million Gaza residents would be in poverty in that scenario, the report said.

The report also assessed a sharp decline in Gaza’s Human Development Index (HDI), which the U.N. defines as a “summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living.”

The “setback in human development” in Gaza may exceed the period before 2004 when HDI was first calculated for the country, the report said.

“Unprecedented levels of human losses, capital destruction, and the steep rise in poverty in such a short period of time will precipitate a serious development crisis that jeopardizes the future of generations to come,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 02, 3:55 PM
Hamas is ‘only barrier’ to a cease-fire: State Department

The Biden administration is still in a holding pattern over the ongoing cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters Thursday.

Miller stressed that Hamas is the “only barrier” to a cease-fire and the world is awaiting their response to an offer from the Israelis.

“Every day that goes by without a cease-fire right now is on Hamas, because they are the ones that are holding up an answer to this proposal,” he said. “They’re the ones holding up an immediate cease-fire that would help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

May 02, 2:03 PM
Hamas says delegation returning to Egypt for negotiations

Hamas senior member Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement Thursday that the group’s delegation will return to Egypt soon to resume cease-fire negotiations and they are aimed at finalizing a deal.

Haniyeh said Hamas is reviewing the latest truce proposal in a “positive spirit” during a phone call with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.

-ABC News’ Ayat Al-Tawy

May 02, 1:40 PM
Al-Amal Hospital in Gaza reopens after 4-month closure

Al-Amal Hospital in Gaza reopened Wednesday after being closed for four months, local sources told ABC News.

Doctors were able to perform surgery, the hospital’s emergency room reopened and some medical students have also returned to the hospital to resume their training, according to the sources.

-ABC News’ Dia Ostaz

May 01, 6:49 PM
Hamas says it will not negotiate if Israel carries out Rafah operation

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said in a statement that cease-fire negotiations with Israel will cease if it moves forward with its operation into Rafah.

“The Israeli enemy is trying to blackmail everyone with the Battle of Rafah,” he said in a statement.

Hamdan told Lebanese TV late Wednesday that a cease-fire deal had not been reached and Hamas was still “studying the swap deal proposal.”

“We have substantial notes on the proposal,” Hamdan told Lebanese TV.

“We are studying the proposal and we will respond to it in a way that serves our goals.”

-ABC News’ Dia Ostaz, Ellie Kaufman and Ghazi Balkiz

May 01, 3:37 PM
Gaza humanitarian pier construction over half complete, Pentagon says

The humanitarian pier being constructed off the coast of Gaza by U.S. soldiers is over 50% complete, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters Wednesday.

The pier, known as JLOTS, is on track to meet the early May time frame for delivery, she said.

“The floating pier has been completely constructed and set up. The causeway is in progress,” she said.

Construction of a floating pier in the Mediterranean Sea off the Gaza Strip continues April 29, 2024.
Singh said the United Nations will be responsible for distributing the aid once the pier is open, and that the drivers of the delivery trucks will be from a third party and not U.S. forces.

When asked how security will be handled to prevent strikes on aid workers, Singh said the Israel Defense Forces “has shown that they are taking steps to mitigate that from happening again.”

-ABC News’ Nathan Luna

May 01, 3:09 PM
Jordan claims Israeli settlers attacked aid convoys en route to Gaza

Jordan’s foreign ministry alleged Israeli settlers attacked two of its humanitarian aid convoys that were en route to Gaza Wednesday.

Hussein Al-Shebli, the secretary general for the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, said in a statement that his organization sent a convoy of 97 trucks to two locations: the Beit Hanoun border crossing and Karam Abu Salem.

Al-Shebli claimed there were attempts “by many of the settlers and from the Israeli side, from Israeli citizens,” to prevent the arrival of the convoy at the crossings.

“The aid trucks were attacked, by trying to break them and the cutting of their air pipes,” he said in a statement.

Ultimately, the trucks were able to arrive at the crossings, according to Al-Shebli.

Israeli officials have not immediately commented on the allegations.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

May 01, 1:45 PM
Hamas expected to respond to Israel cease-fire deal proposal ‘within hours’: Source

Hamas is expected to submit a response to Israel’s current hostage and cease-fire deal proposal “within hours,” a senior Egyptian official told ABC News Wednesday.

The official said efforts to broker a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas are proceeding in a “positive atmosphere.”

“Negotiations are continuing with all sides to resolve a number of sticking points,” the official added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Hamas to accept the terms of the cease-fire deal.

“Israel has made very important compromises in the proposal that is on the table, demonstrating its desire and willingness to get this agreement and get it done,” he said while at the Port of Ashdod.

“There is no time for delay. There’s no time for further haggling. The deal is there. They should take it,” he added.

-ABC News’ Ayat Al-Tawy and Shannon Crawford

May 01, 1:42 PM
Israel opens Erez Crossing for first time since Oct. 7

The Israel Defense Forces opened the Erez Crossing Wednesday for the first time since the war between Israel and Hamas started on Oct. 7.

The Israeli government announced it would reopen the crossing last month after President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in an Israeli airstrike.

The IDF said that 30 trucks of humanitarian aid “including food and medical supplies for the northern part of the Gaza Strip, arrived from Jordan and entered Gaza.”

-ABC News’ Bruno Nota

May 01, 1:03 PM
Blinken visits Gaza border crossing

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a previously unannounced visit Wednesday to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, ​becoming the first cabinet-level U.S. official to visit the border of Gaza since the Oct. 7 attacks.

Blinken attended a closed briefing on humanitarian assistance and deconfliction while he was at the site, which was shuttered for more than two months after the attacks.

Blinken was able to look into Gaza from the top of the massive concrete wall, according to pool reporters.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

May 01, 11:48 AM
Blinken pushes ‘clear position on Rafah’ during meeting with Netanyahu

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem for 2 1/2 hours to discuss numerous topics about the ongoing conflict, according to the State Department.

Blinken discussed “the need to avoid further expansion of the conflict,” and “reiterated the United States’ clear position on Rafah,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“The secretary discussed ongoing efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal and emphasized that it is Hamas that is standing in the way of a ceasefire,” Miller added.

Blinken also discussed improving aid delivery into Gaza and “reiterated the importance of accelerating and sustaining that improvement,” according to Miller.

Prior to meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken spoke with the families of hostages that had gathered outside his hotel in Tel Aviv.

-ABC News’ Joseph Simonetti

Apr 30, 6:29 PM
World Central Kitchen resumes services in Gaza, serves 200k meals

The World Central Kitchen resumed aid services in Gaza for the first time since seven of its members were killed earlier this month in an Israeli airstrike.

The non-governmental organization said it served 200,000 meals to displaced Palestinians on Monday. The World Central Kitchen said it has provided nearly 43 million meals in Gaza to date.

Approximately “276 WCK trucks are ready to enter through Rafah with enough food for 8 million meals. We’re also sending trucks north,” the NGO said in a statement.

Chef José Andrés, the founder and chief feeding officer of World Central Kitchen, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, published Tuesday, discussing his decision to resume operations and stressed that more aid is needed.

“We cannot stand by while so many people are so desperate for the essentials of life. Food is a universal human right, and we will not cease until those basic human rights are respected,” Andrés wrote.

Apr 30, 3:18 PM
UN chief says ‘incremental progress’ made toward averting Gaza famine

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres provided an update on the hunger situation in Gaza and said there has been ” incremental progress recently” in preventing a famine.

However, Guterres warned there is still more work needed, “including the promised opening of the two crossing points between Israel and northern Gaza so that aid can be brought into Gaza from Ashdod, Port and Jordan are still obstacles including a lack of security for aid convoys.”

“Humanitarian convoys, facilities and personnel and people in need must not be targets,” he added.

Guterres said that civilians were dying from hunger and disease every day and pressed for a successful negotiation for a cease-fire.

“I strongly encourage the government of Israel and Hamas leadership to reach now an agreement. Without that I fear the war with all its consequences, both in Gaza and across the region, will worsen exponentially,” he said.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
 

Apr 30, 12:57 PM
Jordanian king warns of ‘catastrophic effects’ of a Rafah operation

The Jordanian government released a readout of the meeting between King Abdullah II and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

Abdullah “warned of the danger of any military operation in Rafah, stressing that the catastrophic effects of the war in Gaza could spread to areas in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the entire region,” according to the readout.

The king also called for more aid to Gaza “through all available means,” the readout said.

“The King said supporting UNRWA is crucial to enable it to cover the basic needs of nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, as well as other Palestinian refugees in its areas of operation,” the readout said.

The U.S. and some other countries pulled funding for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, after Israel said several staffers took part in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

-ABC News’ Cindy Smith

Apr 30, 12:43 PM
Israel will not send delegation to Cairo until Hamas responds to offer: Source

Israel will not send a delegation to Cairo for negotiations on a cease-fire deal until Hamas provides an answer to the proposal Israel has offered them, an Israeli source told ABC News.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Apr 30, 12:40 PM
White House stays mum on Netanyahu’s remarks on Rafah plans

White House national security spokesman John Kirby declined to comment about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest comments about a possible operation into Rafah during a news conference Tuesday.

“Our position on Rafah is absolutely the same. We don’t want to see a major ground operation in Rafah. Certainly, we don’t want to see operations that haven’t factored in the safety and security of those 1.5 million folks trying to seek refuge down there,” Kirby said.

He also declined to say if Netanyahu has shared his plans to enter Rafah with or without a deal directly with the United States.

“They understand our concerns, and those concerns have not changed,” he said, adding that they have not seen a credible plan yet from Israel to take civilian safety into consideration though conversations continue.

Kirby reiterated that the new cease-fire deal is on the table, which would give a six-week pause in fighting and help get the hostages home.

Kirby downplayed expectations, but stressed “time is of the essence.”

“I wouldn’t say we’re overly confident. I would say we’re being very pragmatic about this,” he said.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Apr 30, 11:25 AM
Netanyahu says Israel has ‘no other choice’ but to conduct Rafah operation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an operation in Rafah will proceed in comments Tuesday.

“We will enter Rafah because we have no other choice,” Netanyahu said in comments translated from Hebrew. “We will destroy the Hamas battalions there, we will complete all the objectives of the war, including the repatriation of all our hostages.”

No timeline has been given for a military operation in Rafah, where over 1 million refugees have gathered in the wake of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister also criticized the International Criminal Court, saying it “has no authority over the state of Israel.” The ICC is currently investigating Israel’s actions in Gaza, as well as the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that launched the Israeli response.

“The possibility that it will issue arrest warrants for war crimes against IDF commanders and state leaders, this possibility is a scandal on a historical scale,” Netanyahu said.

He added, “I want to make one thing clear: no decision, neither in The Hague nor anywhere else, will harm our determination to achieve all the goals of the war.”

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Apr 29, 6:18 PM
Hamas delegation leaves Cairo, will return with response to Israeli proposal: Egyptian official

The Hamas delegation has left Cairo⁩ and will return again with a written response to Israel’s proposal for a truce and hostage-release deal, a senior Egyptian government official told ABC News.

Apr 29, 4:20 PM
White House won’t get info specifics on cease-fire deal

The White House was careful not to get into specifics on the “extraordinarily generous” cease-fire proposal Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to earlier this morning, refusing to give specifics as they continued to call on Hamas to accept the proposal.

“I’m not going to characterize the proposal. I’m not going to get into any of the specifics. What we believe is that now is the time for Hamas to take this deal. It is on the table. It is time to, it is way past time to get these hostages home. It is way past time to get to a ceasefire and we need to make sure we continue to get that humanitarian aid,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre noted that Israel “has a lot on their plate,” but expressed a desire for an in-person meeting to take place, in addition to the two virtual meetings the U.S. and Israel have had in recent weeks.

“We would like to have an in-person meeting. That is certainly what we would like to do, but in the meantime, we’ve had two important virtual meetings and in the readout, yesterday, we mentioned that the potential Rafah operations did come up between the two leaders in their conversation,” she said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also spoke to President Joe Biden Monday about ongoing Gaza talks and Egyptian efforts to reach a cease-fire and hostage deal in a phone call, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

The call discussed the risks of an Israeli incursion into Rafah, including the “catastrophic” impact on the worsening humanitarian crisis, and implications for the security and stability of the region, the statement added.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Ayat Al-Tawy

Apr 29, 3:53 PM
Israel leaders concerned about possible ICC arrest warrants: Source

Israeli leaders are expressing concern over possible arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court against key officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told ABC News.

It is believed that such potential warrants might be related to charges on the scope of humanitarian aid Israel allowed into Gaza, according to the official.

The ICC can charge individuals with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide under its powers.

-ABC News’ Dana Savir

Apr 29, 12:20 PM
21 killed, 6 injured after strike in Gaza

At least 21 people were killed in Gaza after an Israeli airstrike Monday, the Al Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah told ABC News. Six people were injured from the strike, the hospital added.

The updated death toll in Gaza is 34,488 killed and 77,643 injured, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

ABC News has reached out to the Israeli army for comment on the strike.

-ABC News’ Dia Ostaz

Apr 29, 8:36 AM
Blinken calls for cease-fire in first stop on Middle East trip

U.S. Secretary of Antony Blinken, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, notably called for a cease-fire as “the most effective way to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza” during a session with his counterparts of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“The most effective way to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to alleviate the suffering of children, women and men and to create space for a more just and durable solution is to get a cease-fire and hostages home, but also not waiting on a cease-fire to take the necessary steps to meet the needs of civilians of Gaza,” Blinken said.

“President Biden is insistent that Israel take specific concrete measurable steps to better address humanitarian suffering, civilian harm and the safety of aid workers in Gaza, including in his most recent call with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he added, referring to a Sunday call with the Israeli leader.

Blinken said the U.S. was “focused on addressing the greatest threat to regional stability and regional security — Iran.”

Apr 28, 6:00 PM
United States Central Command and Royal Jordanian Air Force airdrop aid into Gaza

U.S. Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Northern Gaza on Sunday.

The combined joint operation included Jordanian provided food and four U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft.

The U.S. C-130’s dropped over 25,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), providing life-saving humanitarian assistance in Northern Gaza. Additionally, more than 13,080 meal equivalents of Jordanian food supplies were also delivered.

To date the U.S. has dropped nearly 1,110 tons of humanitarian assistance.

Apr 28, 5:22 PM
American hostage’s niece opens up about ‘surreal’ new video

Hanna Siegel, niece of American hostage Keith Siegel, appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday morning and talked about the “surreal” feeling of seeing a recently released video purporting to show her uncle and talked about the possibility of a deal that would free him and other people thought to still be held by Hamas in Gaza.

“We’ve always believed that he was alive. We have to believe he’s alive — and his wife, my aunt, who was held for 52 days, [was] released in the deal that took place in November, she was with him,” Siegel said. “When she came out, she told us he was alive, but this is the first time that we’re seeing him, hearing him. It’s surreal.”

When asked about a potential hostage deal and temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Siegel said that she does think an agreement “can be reached” and pointed to an earlier deal that secured the release of her aunt and others during a brief pause in the war late last year.

Siegel also said that she believes the new release of purported hostage videos shows that Hamas is signaling they are ready to make a deal.

But she said that she is concerned that it might not be in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “political interest to close a deal,” though Netanyahu has said his goal is freeing the captives in Gaza as well as dismantling Hamas.

Siegel said that the Biden administration should “think about what they can do directly to bring our American citizens home.”

She also said she has felt the “commitment from the Biden administration to get him back,” referring to her uncle.

She became emotional talking about how her family missed her uncle during their Passover celebration and had a picture of him to pay tribute.

“I think there’s so much swirling in the political realm that it’s easy to forget that these are human beings. Keith is a grandfather, he’s a husband, he’s a brother, he’s an uncle,” she said.

She was asked whether her family is worried if a potential Israeli invasion of the Gaza city of Rafah, to further target Hamas fighters, could threaten her uncle’s safety. She responded that she and her family are “very concerned.”

Apr 28, 5:10 PM
Hamas to send a delegation to Cairo for hostage and cease-fire negotiations

Hamas will send a delegation to Cairo, Egypt, on Monday to participate in hostage and cease-fire deal negotiations, ABC News has confirmed.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official also told the Agence France-Presse on Sunday that the organization has no significant problems with the proposed deal.

“The atmosphere is positive unless there are new obstacles from the Israeli side,” the Hamas official said.

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