Qatar, Saudi rulers meet on Gaza cease-fire talks

An Israeli tank sits in a field as heavy smoke rises from the Gaza Strip Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday as the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state began an intensive effort to end more than two weeks of fighting that has killed hundreds of Palestinians and tens of Israelis. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - A senior Saudi official says Qatar's emir has flown to Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah to discuss cease-fire efforts to end the war in the Gaza Strip.

The crown prince and deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia also attended Tuesday night's surprise meeting with Qatar's Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the coastal city of Jiddah. The official spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the meeting.

It marks the first time Qatar's emir has visited Saudi Arabia since the kingdom, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, withdrew their ambassadors to protest Doha's support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group in the region.

Saudi Arabia is backing an Egyptian cease-fire initiative, while Qatar is the main conduit pressing for the demands of the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas.