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HomeworldBlinken to visit Israel on Friday: US State Department

Blinken to visit Israel on Friday: US State Department

WASHINGTON: United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin a new trip to the Middle East on Friday (Nov 3), a spokesperson said, as Israel’s war against Hamas in response to the Oct 7 attack intensifies.

“Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters Tuesday.

Israeli media had previously reported the visit, citing Israeli officials.

Days after the surprise attack by Hamas militants, Blinken travelled to Israel as a show of US support and to coordinate on a response.

A marathon session of shuttle diplomacy in the region ensued, with the US diplomat making over a dozen stops in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and back in Israel.

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He accompanied President Joe Biden to meetings with Israeli government officials and victims during the US leader’s one-day visit to Tel Aviv on Oct 18.

The shock cross-border attack by Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people according to Israeli officials, while more than 230 people – some American citizens – were taken hostage.

Israel’s retaliatory bombardment has killed more than 8,500 people, according to the Gaza health ministry, sparking widespread anger in the region and around the world.

The US is Israel’s biggest supporter, providing it with substantial military aid.

Biden has requested Congress to pass additional funding for Israel as well as Ukraine.

Blinken on Tuesday was at the US Capitol to defend the funding request, but the Senate hearing was repeatedly interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters, some of whom cried out “Ceasefire now”, “Palestinians are not animals” and “Shame on you all” before being removed from the room.

During the hearing Blinken also discussed what might come after the current conflict, saying the Palestinian Authority should retake control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007.

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