U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to advance ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel.
“He will also travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and will be meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian Authority President (Mahmoud) Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” his press spokesperson said.
Kerry flew into Ben Gurion Airport on a military jet despite a ban by the Federal Aviation Agency on U.S. commercial flights to and from the airport due to the Gaza conflict.
Kerry spent the past two days in Egypt working on a proposal with that country’s government to halt hostilities that have killed some 600 Palestinians and more than 30 Israelis. Hamas rejected an earlier Egyptian proposal that was accepted by Israel.
After meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, Kerry said there has been some progress toward a ceasefire, Haaretz reported.
Two more Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza fighting and a foreign worker died from injuries suffered in a mortar attack from Gaza on a hothouse in Ashkelon.
Lt. Nathan Cohen, 23, was killed “in combat” and Capt. Dmitri Levitas, 26, was killed by sniper fire, both on Tuesday night, the Israeli army said in a statement.
Their deaths bring the number of Israeli soldiers killed since the July 8 launch of Operation Protective Edge to 29. Another soldier declared missing is widely presumed to be dead.
On Wednesday, a migrant worker from Thailand killed in Ashkelon became the third civilian killed by Gaza rockets since the start of Israel’s operation to halt a bombing barrage from the coastal strip. He died after being flown by helicopter to Barzilai Medical Centre in that southern Israeli city.