ANI Photo | US Secy of State Antony Blinken heads to Middle East to hold negotiations on hostages, Gaza aid

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday departed for a four-nation visit to the Middle East as part of continuing diplomatic efforts related to the war between Israel and Hamas, including securing a deal on release of hostages and humanitarian pause for increased delivery of aid to Gaza, The New York Times reported.
Blinken will travel to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel, and the West Bank from February 4-8. It is his fifth trip to the region since the Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday said that Israel has a right to respond to the horrific attacks of Hamas. He said that US has helped unlock and get into Gaza Strip and added that there need to be much more of it. He said that making sure more humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza will be a “top priority” for Blinken, who is on his way to the Middle East region.
Speaking on ‘Face The News’ on CBC News, Sullivan said, “Secretary Blinken is on his way to the region as we speak, and this will be a top priority of his when he sees the Israeli government that the needs of the Palestinian people or something that are going to be front and center in the US approach and that we want to ensure that they are getting access to life saving food, medicine, water, shelter. And we’ll continue to press until that is done.”
In a statement on February 2, US State Department said that Blinken, during his visit to Middle East region, will continue diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages and includes a humanitarian pause that will allow for increased delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.
The US Department of State said, “The Secretary will continue diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages and includes a humanitarian pause that will allow for sustained, increased delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.”
“He will continue work to prevent the spread of the conflict, while reaffirming that the United States will take appropriate steps to defend its personnel and the right to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. The Secretary will also continue discussions with partners on how to establish a more integrated, peaceful region that includes lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” it added.
Notably, The war between Israel and Hamas began after the latter launched an attack on the former on October 7, where around 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 250 taken hostage. Israel then launched a counter-attack on Hamas and has vowed to eliminate the terrorist group.
In the latest development in the ongoing war, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF)on Sunday said that IDF soldiers operatied within a compound in Khan Yunis and located AK-47 rifles, ammunition, military equipment, and technological assets. In addition, IDF troops also located RPGs inside of terrorist’s residences.
In a post on X, IDF stated, “IDF operations continue in Gaza: Khan Yunis IDF troops operated within a compound and located AK-47 rifles, ammunition, military equipment, and technological assets. Additionally, troops also located RPGs inside of terrorist’s residences.”
“An IDF fighter jet struck an Islamic Jihad sniper. Northern Gaza During operations within compounds, IDF troops located 7 AK-47 rifles, 3 pistols, military equipment, ammunition, and grenades. IDF fighter jets struck a number of Hamas terrorist targets, including infrastructure and launch posts. IDF Naval forces struck Hamas targets and continued to assist ground troops.” (ANI)

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