'Gaps are narrowing' for Gaza ceasefire deal, Blinken says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says "the gaps are narrowing" for reaching a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Blinken discussed the negotiations for a pause in the fighting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other officials in Cairo on Thursday. The US, Egypt and Qatar are brokering the talks between Israel and Hamas.

Blinken also joined a meeting of representatives of Arab countries, including Qatar and Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. They discussed the release of hostages and expanded humanitarian aid for Gaza.

At a news conference after the talks, Blinken mentioned the need for an "immediate, sustained ceasefire with release of hostages."

He said negotiators are continuing to work on an agreement, adding that "there's still difficult work to get there, but I continue to believe it's possible."

Blinken will visit Israel on Friday. On the same day, negotiators from Israel and Hamas are expected to hold talks in Qatar on a ceasefire and the release of hostages.