AP and Reuters

U.S. top diplomat Blinken to travel to Israel on Wednesday


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on, as U.S. President Joe Biden (not pictured) speaks about the conflict in Israel, after Hamas launched its biggest attack in decades, while making a statement about the crisis, at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 7, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be traveling on Wednesday to meet with senior Israeli leaders, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday, in a solidarity visit with Israel following an unprecedented Hamas attack that killed more than 1,000 Israelis over the weekend.

“It will be a message of solidarity and support,” Miller said in a briefing. “He, of course, wants to hear from the leaders of Israel, hear from them directly about the situation they’re facing … about what they need and how we can best support them.”

Miller said Blinken would be arriving in Israel on Thursday. When asked if the top U.S. diplomat would be heading to other countries after Israel, Miller said the State Department may have further announcements on the topic later on Tuesday.

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, killing hundreds of Israelis and seizing dozens of hostages. Israel’s embassy in Washington said the death toll from Hamas’ weekend attacks had surpassed 1,000.

Israel subsequently battered Palestinians with air strikes in Gaza. Gaza’s Health Ministry said at least 830 Palestinians were killed and up to 4,250 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since Saturday. The United Nations said more than 180,000 Gazans had been made homeless.

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