The top U.S. diplomat met Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler on Monday during a Middle East visit Palestinians hope will clinch a truce before a threatened Israeli assault on Rafah, a border city where about half the Gaza Strip population is sheltering.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Riyadh at the start of his first trip to the region since Washington brokered an offer, with Israeli input, for the first extended ceasefire of the war.

Blinken's meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lasted about two hours.