The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, assured this Thursday to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the support of Washington, during a trip to the Middle East aimed at preventing the conflict with the Palestinian Hamas militants from spreading. .
Blinken began a tour of several Middle Eastern countries as Israel unleashed the most powerful bombing campaign in its 75-year history of conflict with the Palestinians, vowing to destroy Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for militant attacks. at the end of the week.
The secretary of state will also seek to help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, some of whom are believed to be Americans, and advance talks with the Israelis and Egyptians to provide safe passage for of Gaza civilians from the enclave. Invasion of the land of Israel.
Blinken’s trip is also intended to send a message to deter Iran, which backs Hamas, from getting involved in the conflict.
An hour after landing in Tel Aviv, Blinken shook Netanyahu’s hand and told him, “We’re here, we’re not going anywhere,” footage from the prime minister’s office showed.
After Israel, Blinken will head to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It is likely to continue in other Arab countries, US officials said, without specifying which.
A senior State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity that Washington is working to advance talks to provide safe passage for civilians, some of whom are Americans.
“There is a community of about 500 to 600 Palestinian Americans, more or less, living in Gaza. Some of them want to leave (…) and we are working to organize safe passage,” he said.