U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, as he began a trip to the Middle East, that he was urging leaders in the region to press Hamas to say yes to a ceasefire proposal to halt fighting in Gaza.

Blinken said Hamas was the only outlier in not accepting the proposal for a three-phase deal involving the release of hostages and talks toward an end to fighting, to which he said Israel had agreed.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Humeyra Pamuk, Doina Chiacu and Simon Lewis;)