Egypt, US agree to intensify efforts to reach cease-fire deal in Gaza

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on Monday to intensify efforts to reach a cease-fire deal in Gaza, Anadolu agency reported.

Blinken met the Egyptian leader in Cairo on his first stop in a regional tour that will also take him to Jordan and Qatar, his eighth Middle East tour since Oct. 7, 2023.

The two sides reviewed the latest developments of their joint efforts to reach a cease-fire in Gaza and a prisoner swap deal, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

They also discussed Egyptian efforts to provide access to humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, it added.

Blinken, for his part, conveyed the US administration's appreciation for Egypt's ongoing efforts on the political and humanitarian levels, and bilateral coordination to restore security and peace in the region, according to the statement.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 37,100 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 84,700 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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