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    Blinken Wraps Up Frantic Mideast Tour with Tepid, if Any, Support for Pauses in Gaza Fighting

    Blinken Wraps Up Frantic Mideast Tour with Tepid, if Any, Support for Pauses in Gaza Fighting

    ANKARA, — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was wrapping up a grueling Middle East diplomatic tour on Monday in Turkey after only limited success in his furious efforts to forge a regional consensus on how best to ease civilian suffering in Gaza as israel intensifies its war against Hamas.

    Blinken met in the Turkish capital of Ankara with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan after a frantic weekend of travel that took him from israel to , the occupied West Bank, and Iraq to build support for the Biden administration's proposal for “humanitarian pauses” to Israel's relentless military campaign in Gaza.

    Blinken's shuttle diplomacy came as Israeli troops surrounded Gaza and cut off the northern part of the besieged Hamas-ruled territory. Troops are expected to enter the city Monday or Tuesday, and are likely to face militants fighting street by street using a vast network of tunnels. Casualties will likely rise on both sides in the month-old war, which has already killed more than 9,700 Palestinians.

    The top U.S. diplomat hopes that pauses in the war would allow for a surge of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of hostages captured by Hamas during the militants' deadly Oct. 7 incursion into southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians — while also preventing the conflict from spreading regionally.

    Neither Blinken nor Fidan spoke as they posed for…

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