Blinken urges Netanyahu, opposition leaders to agree to Gaza ceasefire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leaders to agree to ceasefire with the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas.

Following a meeting with Netanyahu in Israel on Monday, Blinken met the next day with former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who resigned from the country's war cabinet, and the leader of the largest opposition party, Yair Lapid. Blinken pressed them to go ahead with talks with Hamas.

The US has revealed an Israeli-proposed three-phase plan which includes a six-week ceasefire and the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

After the meetings with the Israeli officials, Blinken told reporters that Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal. Blinken also said it was really "down to one person at this point," urging a Hamas leader in Gaza to accept the ceasefire deal.

But a wide gap remains between Israel and Hamas, leaving it unclear whether the two warring sides can reach a compromise. Israel aims to eliminate Hamas, while Hamas calls for a permanent ceasefire.

The Israeli military attacked the southern city of Rafah, the northern city of Gaza and elsewhere on Tuesday.

Palestinian media reports that Israeli airstrikes destroyed buildings in Gaza City, leaving a number of people dead or injured under the rubble. The enclave's public health authorities said 37,124 people have been killed since the conflict began in October.

The Israeli military said four of its soldiers were killed in a blast by explosives planted in a building during an operation in Rafah on Monday.