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Tor Wennesland. Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images

Tor Wennesland, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has been holding extensive talks with both Israel and Hamas over the past 24 hours in an effort to restore peace, a diplomatic source tells Axios.

Driving the news: The source said Wennesland spoke on Sunday to Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and other senior Israeli security officials as well as Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence officials.

What they are saying: “The talks the U.N. envoy is having with all parties are in an attempt to restore calm in Gaza and Israel, and avoid another devastating full-scale war," the diplomatic source said.

  • An Israeli official didn't deny the call between the U.N. envoy and Israel national security adviser took place but claimed: "There are no cease fire talks. The operation in Gaza continues."
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter what seems to be a toughening of the U.S. position: "All parties need to deescalate tensions – the violence must end immediately"

Blinken spoke both the with Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani about the violence.

Between the lines: Both countries have pushed for calm in the region.

  • Blinken also spoke to the Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan and discussed the ongoing efforts to bring the current violence to an end.

Go deeper: Israel to continue Gaza operation, officials rule out cease-fire for now

Go deeper

May 16, 2021 - World

Israel to continue Gaza operation, officials rule out cease-fire for now

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) on May 9, 2021. Photo: AMIT SHABI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday decided to continue the Gaza operation, according to military plans. Israeli officials said a cease-fire is not on the table right now.

Why it matters: There was a growing feeling within the military and senior defense establishment ahead of the cabinet meeting that Israel should start moving toward ending the operation.

Updated May 15, 2021 - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

May 15, 2021 - World

Israeli airstrike levels high-rise building that housed media offices in Gaza

Smoke billows following an Israeli air strike in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 15. Photo: SAID KHATIB / Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike on Saturday flattened a high-rise building housing media offices for Al Jazeera, the AP and others in the Gaza Strip.

Driving the news: The attack came nearly an hour after the Israeli military warned the building's owner that it was going to bombed and asked for it to be evacuated.