A senior Israeli official says there will be no "ceasefire" in Gaza, amid intensified efforts to free more than 200 Hamas "hostages" in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli official Matthew Chance told CNN that they were "not aware" of U.S. calls to delay the ground operation in Gaza.

He noted that Israel and the United States want to release all "hostages" as soon as possible.

But the official added that "humanitarian efforts cannot be allowed to affect the mission of dismantling Hamas."

In Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that President Joe Biden's administration was talking to the Israeli government "regularly" about the situation in Gaza.

"We both want to make sure that many of the hostages who have been taken will go home, and that's why we're working on that, as I said, almost every minute of the day," Blinken said.

These are the decisions Israel has to make, Blinken said, adding, "We can offer our best advice, our best rating, again, on how they do it and also how best to achieve the results they seek."

In other statements, he noted that Washington sees the possibility of escalating the war in the Middle East due to the actions of Iran and its proxies in the region.

Blinken told NBC News in an interview that the United States was not seeking escalation and hoped to release more Hamas "hostages."

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