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Blinken says the ball is in Hamas' court on Gaza cease-fire

1 min

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday it was up to Hamas to agree to a cease-fire.

Antony Blinken © Mena Today 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday it was up to Hamas to agree to a ceasefire that would allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and pave the way for talks on an "enduring resolution" to the conflict.

The Palestinian militant group left talks in Cairo aimed at reaching an agreement to pause fighting ahead of Ramadan, amid fears violence could escalate during the Muslim fasting month.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the lack of agreement on a deal that would require Hamas to free some of the hostages it still holds in exchange for a 40-day truce. Palestinian prisoners held in Israel would also be released.

Blinken, ahead of a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, said Washington was still pushing for a ceasefire.

"The issue is Hamas. The issue is whether Hamas will decide or not to have a ceasefire that would benefit everyone," Blinken said.

"The ball is in their court. We're working intensely on it, and we'll see what they do."

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis in Washington

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