Blinken Heads To Middle East As Cease-Fire Holds

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Blinken Heads To Middle East As Cease-Fire Holds
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held through the weekend after almost two weeks of fighting between the two sides.
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in the Middle East this week meeting with Israel, Palestinian and regional officials.

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held through the weekend after almost two weeks of fighting between the two sides. The U.S. hopes it can be a step toward longer-lasting peace. 

"We have to find a way to break the cycle, because if we don't it will repeat itself at great cost and at great human suffering on all sides," said Blinken. "I think it's incumbent on all of us to start to build something more positive. And what that means at heart is that Palestinians, and Israelis alike, have to know in their day in and day out lives, equal measures of opportunity, of security, of dignity."

Blinken said the immediate focus is on dealing with the humanitarian toll of the conflict.

Gaza health officials say 248 people were killed during the fighting. Israel's military says a majority of those deaths were militants. Israel says rockets fired from Gaza killed 13 people in Israel.