Blinken says talks on Israel's Rafah offensive expected next week

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WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 9 said he expects talks between Israeli and US officials to take place next week on a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, Gaza's last refuge for displaced Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday victory over Hamas required entry into Rafah and said there was a date for the operation, despite Washington's warning not to go ahead.

Blinken, speaking to reporters after a meeting with British Foreign Minister David Cameron at the State Department, said Washington has not been given a date.


"On the contrary, what we have is an ongoing conversation with Israel about any Rafah operation," Blinken said, adding that he expected that the talks would continue next week.

"I don’t anticipate any actions being taken before those talks, and for that matter I don’t see anything imminent. But there’s a lot of work to be done and it remains our conviction that major military operations in Rafah would be extremely dangerous for civilians who would be caught in harm’s way."

Blinken also said the United States is continuing to work closely with Qatar and Egypt on a ceasefire agreement for Gaza. He added that 400 trucks were cleared to go into Gaza on April 8, the most since Oct 7, when the conflict was triggered. 

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