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Jordan's King Abdullah says US must push Israel to agree to cease-fire in Gaza

1 min

Top U.S and European diplomats sought ways on Sunday to keep the Gaza war from spreading in the Middle East, but three months after the conflict erupted, more bloodshed underlined the challenge and Israel was set on pressing its campaign.

Antony Blinken with King Abdullah and Crown Prince Al Hussein on Sunday in Amman

Top U.S and European diplomats sought ways on Sunday to keep the Gaza war from spreading in the Middle East, but three months after the conflict erupted, more bloodshed underlined the challenge and Israel was set on pressing its campaign.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, were on separate trips to the region to try to quell spillover from the war into Lebanon, the West Bank and Red Sea shipping lanes, where Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis have vowed to keep up attacks until Israel halts its campaign in the Palestinian enclave.

"We have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading," said Blinken, who was in Jordan on Sunday and will also travel to Israel, the West Bank, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt during his fourth trip to the region.

Jordan's King Abdullah urged Blinken to use Washington's influence over Israel to press it for an immediate ceasefire, a palace statement said, warning him of the "catastrophic repercussions" of Israel's continued military campaign.

"The war must not be stopped until we achieve all the goals - the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel. I say this to both our enemies and our friends," Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Blinken, who visited Turkey and Greece at the start of his trip, will aim to press hesitant Muslim nations in the region to prepare to play a role in the reconstruction, governance and security of Gaza if and when Israel achieves its goal of eliminating Hamas, said a senior State Department official.

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