Israel’s Netanyahu rebuffs US plea to halt Rafah offensive. Tensions rise ahead of Washington talks


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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken walks before departing at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday March 22, 2024. (Evelyn Hockstein, Pool Photo via AP) TEL AVIV – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday once again left the Middle East empty-handed as Israel’s prime minister rejected American appeals to call off a promised ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is overflowing with displaced civilians. The tough message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sets the stage for potentially difficult talks next week in Washington between top U.S. officials and a high-level Israeli...