Secretary Blinken kicks off Middle East tour with Israel as first stop

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Tel Aviv to discuss extension of temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas to end hostilities in Gaza Strip

Secretary Blinken kicks off Middle East tour with Israel as first stop

The first stop of United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken's third Middle East tour since Oct. 7 is Israel.

During the visit, Blinken will discuss with Israeli officials the temporary cease-fire reached in Gaza, the release of prisoners held by Hamas, and aid to Gaza.

Blinken is expected to continue his Middle East tour after his Israeli contacts.

NEGOTIATIONS TO EXTEND CEASE-FIRE CONTINUE

As part of the prisoner swap agreement reached between Israel and Hamas, a 4-day temporary cease-fire was agreed on Nov. 24.

Following indirect talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt, this prisoner exchange and temporary cease-fire was extended for two more days.

Negotiations are ongoing to extend the temporary cease-fire, which is expected to expire at 8 a.m. this morning local time.

WHAT HAPPENED

Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced that they launched a comprehensive attack against Israel called "Al-Aqsa Flood" on the morning of Oct. 7.

While thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, armed groups entered the settlements in the region. The Israeli army also launched an attack on the Gaza Strip with dozens of warplanes. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that Israel killed 14,500 people, including 5,000 children, and 3,500 women. It injured at least 32,000 people in its attacks on Gaza.

The administration said the number of missing persons crossed 6,000, with most of them suspected of lying under the rubble of the fallen buildings.

It was reported that 1,400 Israelis, including 324 soldiers, were killed and 5,132 Israelis were wounded in the attacks from Gaza.

The Israeli army hit Damascus and Aleppo airports. As the Middle East is once again turning into a bloodbath, a deadline has been set for nearly 2.5 million Palestinians to leave the blockaded Gaza.

In Israel’s attacks on Gaza, 52 journalists were killed.

In the clashes between the Israeli army and Hezbollah on the Israel-Lebanon border since Oct. 8, 55 Hezbollah members and 4 civilians, one of whom was a journalist, were killed. Three Israeli soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed in the attacks organized by Lebanon.

Most recently, Israel attacked the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza, killing civilians.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he was breaking off all contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of Israeli attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Newsroom

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