Saudi Arabia has switched focus from a deal with Israel to a deal with Iran following the terror attack by Hamas on Israel last week, according to a report.
At least 2,800 people have died since Hamas launched thousands of rockets on Israel over the weekend, pushing Israel to declare it was at war with the terrorist group and issue warnings to residents in Gaza ahead of operations in the territory to root out the group.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told Fox News’ Trey Yingst that their infantry forces and tanks entered the Gaza Strip on Friday to conduct localized raids – but not yet begun its much-anticipated ground invasion of the region.
Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already spoken with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in an effort to stymie potential further violence across the region.
One of the sources said that talks could not continue for now and that Saudi Arabia would need to prioritize concessions for the Palestinian people when discussion resumed.
A senior Iranian official told Reuters the call, made by Raisi to the crown prince, aimed to support “Palestine and prevent the spread of war in the region,” adding that the call was “good and promising.”
A second Iranian official said the call lasted 45 minutes and had the blessing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Israeli and Saudi leaders had touted progress towards agreeing to a deal of normalization, which would have had significant consequences for the region.
Some experts suggested that the attack occurred in response to recent reports, including during a Fox News interview with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that Saudi Arabia and Israel had neared a point of agreement on normalized relations.
The move would have been a major victory for the parties involved, but a major setback for Iran, which has long supported Hamas terrorism in Gaza.
Saudi Arabia’s initial statement following the news of the attack in Israel appeared to lay blame on Israel for the conflict, referring to its past “warnings” to Israel about the treatment of the Palestinian people as the Foreign Ministry noted it was “closely following the developments.”
The statement drew criticism from U.S. officials. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, revealed that he told a senior Saudi official on Saturday that “if you want a normal relationship with the United States, this is not a normal statement.”
The U.S. has looked to further develop ties between Israel and other major Arab nations in the region through the Abraham Accords, which were first agreed during the Trump administration. Signatories so far include Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan.
Saudi had agreed to a preliminary deal in August, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal at the time. The deal would see concessions to Palestinians, but also included U.S. assistance in building a civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia and with U.S. security guarantees.
U.S. officials reportedly told the Journal that the Biden administration wants Saudi Arabia to assure them that they will have economic and military distance from China.
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom and Reuters contributed to this report.