U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday to seek governance reforms, part of a plan to rally the region behind a postwar vision for Gaza that includes concrete steps toward a Palestinian state. Blinken said he had secured commitments from multiple countries in the region to assist with rebuilding and governing Gaza after the war against Hamas, but only if there is “a pathway to a Palestinian state.”

Hundreds of people have been killed in recent days as the Israeli offensive’s focus shifts to the southern city of Khan Younis and built-up refugee camps in the central Gaza. The entire population of 2.3 million people is also in a food crisis, with 576,000 people at catastrophic or starvation levels.

Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack from Gaza into southern Israel triggered the war and killed around 1,200 people, and militants took some 250 others hostage. Israel’s air, ground and sea assault in Gaza has killed more than 23,000 people, two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory. The count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.


— Video appears to show the Israeli army shot 3 Palestinians, killing 1, without provocation.

— Yemen’s Houthis launch the largest Red Sea drone and missile attack to date.

— Hezbollah launches a drone strike on base in northern Israel.

— Blinken urges Israel to engage with the region on postwar plans that include a path to a Palestinian state.

— Israel taps top legal minds, including a Holocaust survivor, to battle a genocide claim at world court.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s what’s happening in the war:

CAIRO — An Israeli delegation landed in Cairo on Wednesday for a new round of talks with Egypt on a possible swap of hostages held by Hamas for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, an Egyptian official said.

Egypt, the Gulf nation of Qatar and the United States have served as mediators between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has ruled Gaza for almost 17 years. Israel has vowed to crush Hamas following its deadly Oct. 7 attack in which the militants killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel and took some 250 hostages.

About half the hostages were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November, and mediators have tried since then to reach agreement on another round of exchanges, accompanied by a halt in fighting.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been meeting with leaders in the Middle East since the weekend, and is expected in Cairo on Thursday.

Efforts to negotiate another swap were disrupted by the assassination of a top Hamas official in Beirut last week, widely blamed on Israel.

The Egyptian official said Wednesday that Egypt and Qatar were trying to win freedom for civilian hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups in return for a cease-fire and the release of additional Palestinian prisoners by Israel. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief reporters.

In addition to civilians, Hamas and other militant groups also hold Israeli soldiers. Hamas still insists on ending the war before talking about releasing the hostages, a demand Israel has rejected outright.

“They (Israel) will never recover their hostages unless all our prisoners in the occupation prisons are released,” Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday in Qatar.

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council plans to vote Wednesday on a resolution proposed by the United States that would condemn attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on merchant and commercial vessels in the Red Sea area and demand an immediate halt.

The draft resolution, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, says at least two dozen Houthi attacks are impeding global commerce “and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security.” The resolution would demand the immediate release of the first ship the Houthis attacked, the Galaxy Leader, a Japanese-operated cargo ship with links to an Israeli company that was seized on Nov. 19 along with its crew.

Without naming Iran, the Houthis’ main arms supplier, the draft to be voted on would condemn all arms dealings with the rebels, which violate Security Council sanctions.

It also “urges caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and the broader region.” And it “encourages enhanced diplomatic efforts by all parties to that end, including continued support for dialogue and Yemen’s peace process under the U.N. auspices.”


Associated Press writer Edith Lederer contributed.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen’s Houthi rebels unleashed a barrage of drones and missiles targeting shipping in the Red Sea, though it initially appeared no ship was damaged, authorities said Wednesday.

The assault happened late Tuesday off the Yemeni port cities of Hodeida and Mokha, according to the private intelligence firm Ambrey. In the Hodeida incident, Ambrey said ships described over radio seeing missiles and drones, with U.S.-allied warships in the area urging “vessels to proceed at maximum speed.”

Off Mokha, ships saw missiles fired, a drone in the air and small vessels trailing them, Ambrey said.

The British military’s United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, which monitors shipping attacks in the region, said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The Houthis did not immediately issue a formal statement acknowledging launching the attacks. But the pan-Arab satellite news network Al Jazeera quoted an anonymous Houthi military official as saying their forces “targeted a ship linked to Israel in the Red Sea,” without elaborating.

The Iran-backed militants have carried out more than two dozen attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea in response to the Israel-Hamas war, disrupting international trade and leading to increased efforts by the United States and its allies to patrol the vital waterway.

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