It’s morning in Gaza. Here’s what you need to know

Negotiations to secure a ceasefire tied to the release of hostages held by Hamas are “getting closer” to a deal, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

“We worked very hard with Qatar, with Egypt, and with Israel to put a strong proposal on the table. We did that; Hamas wouldn’t accept it. They came back with other requests, other demands. The negotiators are working on that right now,” Blinken said.

Israel’s response to Hamas’ latest counterproposal “was negative in general” and did not meet the demands of Hamas, according to Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan.

The counterproposal delivered last week included the release of Israeli hostages for 700 to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the Hamas proposal “unrealistic.”

Blinken, who is on a trip in the Middle East, will travel to Egypt to meet with Arab leaders today and head to Israel on Friday.

Here are some other key developments:

  • Hospital raid: Israel’s raid on Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital has lasted three days. Civilians in the hospital are running out of basic necessities, a Gaza Civil Defense spokesperson said. The Israeli military said it had killed 90 “terrorists” and detained a senior Hamas operative allegedly involved in the murder of three boys in 2014. According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli forces shot at people in the hospital, and detained Palestinian journalists and health workers, whom they blindfolded and stripped down to their underwear.
  • Israeli court halts government plan: Israel’s Supreme Court temporarily halted a government plan to send a group of Palestinian hospital patients and babies back to Gaza following a CNN report. The decision follows a petition by an Israeli non-profit, which decided to take action following the CNN report.
  • Rafah evacuation plan: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government will soon approve a plan for the evacuation of civilians from Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, where about 1.5 million people are sheltering. But he suggested the planned military offensive into the city was not imminent.
  • Canada suspends arms exports to Israel: Canada has “not approved new arms export permits to Israel” since January 8, “and this will continue until we can ensure full compliance with our export regime.” CNN previously reported that Canada had paused exports of non-lethal military goods and technology to Israel in January given the risk that goods could be used in connection with human rights violations.
  • Netanyahu addresses Senate Republicans: The Israeli prime minister addressed the Senate Republican policy lunch on Wednesday for 15 minutes via video, and then took about 45 minutes of questions, according to Sen. John Kennedy. Netanyahu was sharply critical of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s comments calling for elections to form a new government in Israel, Kennedy said.