Hamas delegation due in Cairo on Monday for Gaza ceasefire talks

A senior Hamas official told AFP on Sunday that the group would deliver its response to Israel's latest counterproposal for a Gaza ceasefire on Monday in Egypt as mediators stepped up efforts to reach a deal ahead of an Israeli assault on the southern city of Rafah. Earlier, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said an attack on Rafah would be “the biggest disaster in the history of the Palestinian people” and that only the United States was capable of stopping it. Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded.

10:26pm: Blinken to visit Israel, Jordan on new Mideast trip

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel and Jordan on a trip through Wednesday, the State Department announced, after the US and Israeli leaders discussed hostage-release talks by telephone.

Blinken will travel to both countries, a State Department official confirmed as the top US diplomat refuelled Sunday in Ireland on his way to a previously announced trip to Saudi Arabia.

10:15pm: Biden, Netanyahu discuss hostage-release talks in new call

US President Joe Biden has spoken with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "reviewed ongoing talks" to free hostages held by Hamas, the White House has said.

The two allies "reviewed ongoing talks to secure the release of hostages together with an immediate ceasefire in Gaza," the White House said in a statement.

Biden and Netanyahu "also discussed increases in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza including through preparations to open new northern crossings starting this week," the statement said.

Gantz, a former army chief and defence minister, also pushed for Rafah to be invaded.

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