Oil rises on Gaza ceasefire rejection and US stock data

Oil prices gained ground on Thursday as investors considered the impact of Israel's rejection of a ceasefire offer from Hamas and unexpected drops in US fuel stocks.

Brent crude futures rose 81 cents, or 1.02%, to $80.02 a barrel by 1239 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 72 cents, or 0.97%, at $74.58.

The Brent benchmark breached $80 a barrel for the first time since Feb 1 as it extended three straight sessions of gains.

"The recent strength is the result of the Israeli reply to the counter offer from Hamas to the original peace plan, which ensures that hostilities in the Red Sea will continue unabated," said PVM analyst Tamas Varga.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the latest Hamas ceasefire offer and return of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, but US

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was still room for negotiation.

Diplomatic efforts continue, with a Hamas delegation arriving in Cairo on Thursday for ceasefire talks with mediators Egypt and Qatar. Jordan's King Abdullah, meanwhile, will meet US President Joe Biden to lobby for an end to the war.

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