The US President is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm the country’s support for Israel (Picture: AP)
Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said Biden ‘will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimises civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas’.
After hours discussing the crisis with Netanyahu and his war cabinet, Blinken also said they had agreed to develop a plan to get humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians. He did not provide details.
The White House also confirmed Biden will then travel to Jordan to meet King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The visit will mark a significant show of US support for its top Middle East ally after Hamas gunmen killed 1,300 people during a rampage through southern Israeli towns on October 7, the deadliest single day in Israel’s 75-year history.
Biden pictured holding a bilateral meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York last month (Picture: Reuters)
Israeli army soldiers patrol an undisclosed area in northern Israel bordering Lebanon on October 15 (Picture: AFP via Getty)
Israel has responded by tightening its blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, including by restricting the entry of fuel, and bombarding the area with air strikes that have killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
Gaza authorities say more than 2,800 people have been killed in Israeli retaliatory attacks, around a quarter of them children, and more than 10,000 wounded are in hospitals desperately short of supplies.
Israeli officials say that in addition to the casualties Hamas inflicted, the Iran-backed group took some 199 hostages into Gaza.
Khaled Meshaal, a top Hamas leader, said on Monday the group ‘has what it needs’ to free all Palestinians in Israel’s jails, indicating it may try to use the kidnapped Israelis as bargaining chips.
Soon after Meshaal’s remarks, the group’s armed wing separately said the non-Israelis it had taken captive were ‘guests’ who would be released ‘when circumstances allow’.
Israeli soliders ride in their armoured vehicles towards the border with the Gaza Strip on October 16 (Picture: AFP via Getty)
Israeli leaders are planning for a ground offensive on Gaza, which is expected to be conducted ‘by land, sea and air’.
Iran’s foreign minister has warned that ‘pre-emptive action is possible’ if Israel invades the Gaza Strip.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, whose theocracy provides support to Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, told state television Israel cannot ‘do whatever it wants in Gaza and then go after other resistance groups after it’s done with Gaza’.
‘Therefore any pre-emptive action is possible in the coming hours,’ he said.
‘If the limited and extremely tight windows of opportunity available to the United Nations and political actors are not used over the coming hours, opening new fronts against the Zionist regime is inevitable.’
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The White House also confirmed Biden will then travel to Jordan.