U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will spend another day in Egypt Thursday as he works with regional foreign ministers and heads of state to end violence in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 700 Palestinians. Thirty four people, mostly soldiers have died on the Israeli side.
A senior State Department official says Secretary Kerry will stay in Cairo at least through Friday morning, because he says there has been "some progress in moving towards" a cease-fire over the last 24 hours.
Speaking about the effort, Kerry said that those involved are seeking to find a way forward.
"In the last days we have been talking about how to achieve an end to the current violence and an effort to try to not only have a cease-fire but build a process that can create a sustainable way forward for everybody," said the U.S. secretary of state.
Kerry returned to Egypt late Wednesday after separate talks in Israel and Ramallah with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is calling on all parties to work together toward one goal.
"Bring this violence toward an immediate end, immediate end. I really urge the parties [to] stop now. It's now time to stop now, then discuss all the issues," said Ban.
Among the issues for Hamas is lifting the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza. For the Israelis, it is stopping Hamas rocket attacks and destroying Hamas tunnels into Israel.
But those are to be negotiated after a cease-fire, when Kerry says "all of the issues of Gaza will be on the table."