Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel this week, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, in a show of “solidarity and support” after the assault by Hamas that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and sparked a new war in the Middle East.
(Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel this week, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, in a show of “solidarity and support” after the assault by Hamas that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and sparked a new war in the Middle East.
The high-level visit is a relatively fast trip by the top US diplomat after the outbreak of a conflict. It comes just days after Israel declared war following the attack on Saturday, which Israel President Isaac Herzog called the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.
“Secretary Blinken will be traveling to Israel in the coming days to engage our Israeli partners directly about the situation on the ground and how we can continue to best support them in their fight against the terrorists who launched these horrific attacks,” Miller told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he expects Blinken to leave on Wednesday and arrive in Israel on Thursday.
“Our support for Israel is unwavering,” Miller said. “And the secretary looks forward to meeting with senior leaders in the Israeli government and continuing the discussions he and the president have been having with them since the initial attacks on Saturday.”
The attack by Hamas — which included thousands of rockets fired into Israeli neighborhoods and at least 1,500 Hamas militants storming across the border and killing and abducting civilians and soldiers — has also claimed the lives of at least 14 American citizens, the State Department said.
As the US military moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, Blinken has been calling counterparts around the world in an attempt to bolster support for Israel.
The US is also trying to deter Iran from encouraging militants, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, from taking advantage of the situation and complicating Israel’s military response. Israel has undertaken widespread airstrikes in Gaza, where Hamas is based.
Miller said Iran probably knew that Hamas planned to attack Israel but its full role isn’t yet known.
(Updates with comment from spokesman in third paragraph)
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