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The Latest | Blinken holds talks on Gaza in the wake of Israeli rescue raid and Palestinian deaths

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a new visit to the region on Monday in the shadow of the dramatic rescue of four Israeli hostages held in Gaza and turmoil in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Blinken met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, but neither made public remarks. Blinken will also travel to Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Monday afternoon in New York on a U.S. resolution that welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, which it says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The draft resolution urges both Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

While Biden, Blinken and other U.S. officials have praised the hostage rescue, the operation resulted in the deaths of a large number of Palestinian civilians and may complicate the cease-fire push by emboldening Israel and hardening Hamas' resolve to carry on fighting in the war it initiated with its Oct. 7 attack into Israel.

Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 36,730 people, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. U.N. agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Currently:

Blinken returns to Mideast as Israel-Hamas cease-fire proposal hangs in balance after hostage rescue

— How an Israeli raid freed 4 hostages and killed at least 274 Palestinians in Gaza

— What does Israel's rescue of 4 captives, and the killing of 274 Palestinians, mean for truce talks?

Centrist Benny Gantz is quitting Israel's war Cabinet, citing frustrations with Netanyahu

Follow AP's coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here's the latest:

HAMAS, PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD LEADERS MEET IN QATAR TO WEIGH CEASE-FIRE OPTIONS

BEIRUT — The leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad met Monday in Qatar to discuss a proposed cease-fire deal for Gaza, according to a statement released after the talks concluded.

The statement said Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and Ziad Nakhaleh of Islamic Jihad discussed “indirect talks” to reach a cease-fire. There are no direct talks between Hamas and Israel. According to the statement released by Islamic Jihad, the leaders said any deal must lead to a permanent cease-fire, a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza, reconstruction and “a serious exchange deal” between hostages in Gaza and Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Monday afternoon in New York on a U.S. resolution that welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, which it says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas to accept the three-phase plan. The plan aims to end an eight-month war in Gaza sparked by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage.

Israel’s military offensive has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials. The toll does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL WILL VOTE ON A U.S. RESOLUTION THAT WELCOMES A CEASE-FIRE

UNITED NATIONS -– The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Monday afternoon on a U.S. resolution that welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, which it says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The draft resolution urges both Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

If adopted, it would represent the first Security Council resolution on a cease-fire plan aimed at ultimately ending the eight-month war in Gaza sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Israel’s military offensive has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters earlier Monday that the United States hoped for a quick vote but wanted to make sure all 15 Security Council members would support the resolution.

“That’s the key here, it’s getting all council members on board with this resolution which gives us the best, most realistic opportunity to bring at least a temporary halt to this war,” he said.

The draft resolution outlines the three-phase plan starting with “an immediate, full, and complete cease-fire with the release of hostages” and remains of those who died, the exchange of Palestinian prisoners and withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza and the return of Palestinian civilians to all areas in the territory. It also requires the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “at scale throughout the Gaza Strip.”

In phase two, the draft resolution says that with the agreement of Israel and Hamas, “a permanent end to hostilities, in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza” will take place.

Phase three would launch “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza to their families.”

In a new provision, the final draft of the resolution would “underline” that the proposal says if negotiations take longer than six weeks for the first phase, “the cease-fire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.”

AN ISRAELI DRONE IS SHOT DOWN OVER LEBANON

BEIRUT — The Israeli military says one of its drones was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over Lebanon.

Monday’s announcement came after residents of the Apple Province region in south Lebanon said the saw a drone crashing in the area.

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said its fighters shot down the Hermes 900 Kochav drone.

The Hermes 900 Kochav is a medium altitude and long endurance drone that can carry four anti-tank guided missiles.

Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for shooting down five drones since the exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border began a day after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas, followed by eight months of Israeli assaults in Gaza.

Over the past nearly eight months, more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon. Most of them were fighters but they also includes more than 70 civilians and noncombatants. In Israel, 15 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed since October.

POLICE RAID OFFICES OF A CLOSE ALLY OF NETANYAHU

JERUSALEM -- Israeli police have raided the offices of one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies after launching a criminal investigations of fraud.

The country’s attorney general and state prosecutor ordered an investigation into the Transportation Ministry after Channel 13 TV reported that Transportation Minister Miri Regev gave preferential treatment to Israeli cities and towns whose local officials supported her politically.

Regev is one of Netanyahu’s staunchest supporters in the governing Likud party and has been a lightning rod for controversy throughout her political career.

Officers searched the ministry’s Jerusalem offices and confiscated documents, the police said.

Israeli media reported Monday that Regev called the probe “fraudulent” but said the ministry would comply with the investigation

Netanyahu is currently on trial over a series of corruption allegations.

PALESTINIANS SAY A 15-YEAR-OLD KILLED IN A WEST BANK RAID

JERUSALEM — Palestinian health officials say Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian in an overnight raid on Al-Fara’a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The military said Monday that its soldiers had begun a raid targeting militants, killing one and wounding two others with live fire.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the boy killed as 15-year-old Mahmoud Nabrisi and said five others were wounded in the built-up camp, which dates back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Also Monday, Israel’s border police said it killed a Palestinian in Tulkarem, a volatile city in the northern West Bank, during an undercover operation to arrest a suspected militant. During the operation, an undercover sniper shot and killed a Palestinian wearing a military vest in the area, the police said.

Palestinian health officials did not immediately confirm the Tulkarem killing, but a traditional funeral procession was planned for Monday afternoon.

Violence in the West Bank escalated dramatically after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which triggered the war in Gaza.

Frequent Israeli operations in Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank have driven up a Palestinian death toll that now exceeds 530.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.

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