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Blinken Leaves For Israel In A Bid To Prevent Bigger Conflict

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In an effort to stop a bigger conflict from starting following an attack and hostage-taking by Palestinian Hamas terrorists and an Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken left for Israel on Wednesday.

Blinken was scheduled to meet with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss strengthening military support in a show of allegiance for Washington’s closest Middle East partner.

“I’m going with a very simple and clear message … that the United States has Israel’s back,” Blinken told reporters before boarding a plane bound for Israel.

In an effort to gain the release of over 100 individuals, some of whom may be US citizens, Israel claims Hamas is holding hostage, he would collaborate with regional friends of the United States. After stopping in Israel and Jordan, Blinken will go to other nations in the area, according to a senior State Department official.

As Israel was organising an emergency unity government, Blinken, the senior US envoy, took off.

Over the weekend, terrorists from Hamas ravaged Israeli cities, executing 1,200 people and capturing many captives to Gaza. According to Blinken, at least 22 Americans lost their lives in the attack.

Blinken stated, “That number could still go up, and it probably will,” and that the US and Israeli officials were collaborating to find the whereabouts of more US nationals who had not been found.

The Health Ministry of Gaza reports that over 1,100 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes. According to the Israeli military, at least 1,000 Palestinian militants who had entered from Gaza had been slain by their forces.

When asked if Washington had encouraged Israel to respond cautiously—a ground attack in Gaza is anticipated—Blinken responded that Israel observes international law and takes precautions to prevent civilian losses. “We know that Israel will take all of the precautions that it can, just as we would, and again that’s what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities,” Blinken said.

In order to prevent a broader conflict from starting, Blinken’s first task will be to deliver a message of deterrence, primarily directed at Iran and Iran-backed organisations like Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Since Israel and Hamas began fighting, Hezbollah has moved cautiously, attacking the Lebanese border to occupy Israeli forces’ time while refraining from establishing a strong front, according to people with knowledge of its plans.

On Wednesday, Israeli shelling struck villages in southern Lebanon in retaliation for a new rocket strike by Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. This was the fourth day of increased violence along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Blinken has been in phone communication with his colleagues in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates since Saturday. According to US officials, Washington is pressuring neighbouring nations that have sway over Hamas and other anti-Israel groups to assist in preventing the situation from getting worse.

Reiterating US support for Israel, Biden denounced the Hamas attack as “sheer evil” on Wednesday and appeared to be warning Iran and groups backed by Iran not to take advantage of the turmoil, saying, “I have one word: Don’t.”

There was no mention of the Israeli-occupied West Bank in Blinken’s tour announcement. Blinken has travelled to the West Bank, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, on earlier occasions.

Israel has also increased its embargo on Gaza, where Hamas took over in 2007. The Israelis have said they will keep food and gasoline out of the region while threatening to intensify their ground invasion.

Another important issue that Blinken may be bringing up with his colleagues on the trip is the idea of safe passage for civilians from Gaza, which Washington claimed it was negotiating with Israel and Egypt.

In order to prevent Palestinian civilian losses in Gaza, Biden has refrained from explicitly pleading with Israel to exercise restraint. It was unclear if Blinken would make this kind of plea in a private meeting with Israeli leaders.

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