SPEAKING TO REPORTERS BLINKEN SAYS HUMANITARIAN PAUSE – Could Advance Prospect of Getting Hostages Released 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said U.S. officials were working to secure a humanitarian pause in Gaza that would advance several priorities including getting more aid into Palestinians and getting hostages held by Hamas released.

Speaking to reporters after an unannounced stop in Baghdad, Blinken said there were now 100 trucks of aid moving into the besieged coastal enclave each day, but he added, “It’s grossly insufficient.”

After a visit to the occupied West Bank earlier on Sunday, Blinken landed in Baghdad on his first visit to the country as the top U.S. diplomat, holding talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani.

Washington wants to prevent a wider regional conflict and has stepped up diplomacy with countries in the region whose populations have been angered by Israel’s assault on Gaza aimed at rooting out the militant group Hamas. Israeli bombing has resulted in numerous civilian casualties. Israel launched its offensive after attacks by Hamas fighters killed 1,400 people on October 7.