US Secretary of State Blinken reaches Israel as Israeli siege of Gaza City tightens

Khan Younis (Gaza Strip), November 3 (AP) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Friday to push for more humanitarian aid to be delivered to besieged Gaza, while Israeli troops tightened their siege of Gaza City. Is.

Israel’s campaign has primarily focused on defeating the ruling Hamas group in Gaza.

Tension has risen along the northern border with Lebanon ahead of a planned speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah late Friday, raising fears the conflict could take a regional role. This will be Nasrallah’s first public comments since Hamas’ attack on Israel last month.

On Thursday, Hamas ally Hezbollah launched drone, mortar and suicide drone attacks on Israeli positions in the north. The Israeli military said it retaliated with fighter planes and attack helicopters.

Since the Israel-Hamas war erupted on October 7, Hezbollah has taken deliberate steps to trap Israeli forces along its border with Lebanon, preventing the outbreak of a full-scale war.

More than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed so far in Gaza, and another 1,400 have been killed in Israel, mainly civilians who died in Hamas’ initial attack.

Blinken is making his third visit to Israel since the Hamas attack. During the visit he will visit Tel Aviv and Amman, Jordan. US President Joe Biden has advised a “short pause” in the war to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The purpose of Blinken’s visit is to allow aid supplies to Palestine and pave the way for the evacuation of foreign citizens and injured. About 800 people have been evacuated from there in the last two days.

Israel did not immediately respond to Biden’s suggestion, but its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, “We are moving forward.” No one can stop us.” Netanyahu had earlier refused a ceasefire. He pledged to end Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

Before Blinken departed, the US State Department “reiterated our support for Israel’s right to defend itself.”

The Biden administration also pressured Israel to allow more humanitarian aid to reach Gaza amid growing concern over the humanitarian crisis.

More than 3,700 Palestinian children have been killed in the 25-day fighting, according to the health ministry of Hamas-ruled Gaza. Due to the bombing, more than half of the area’s 23 lakh population has been forced to flee their homes. There is a shortage of food, water and fuel and the medical facilities in the hospital, overcrowded with patients, are on the verge of collapse.

Israel has allowed more than 260 trucks carrying food and medicine into Gaza, but aid workers have said that is not enough.

Israeli officials have refused to allow fuel supplies, saying Hamas is hoarding it for military use.

White House National Security Advisor John Kirby said that the US is not advocating a general ceasefire, but a temporary, area-specific ceasefire.

An airstrike on Thursday reduced a residential building to rubble in the Burij refugee camp, several miles south of Gaza City.

AP Subhash Dilip


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