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Blinken’s Middle East Tour Aims to Advance Truce, Ease Tensions as U.S. Bombs Region, Arms Israel

HeadlineFeb 06, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with leaders in Egypt and Qatar today on his second day of a Middle East tour as a possible new Gaza truce and hostage handover inches forward amid rising regional tensions. Blinken met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia Monday and will also travel for meetings in Israel and the West Bank. U.S. officials say Blinken’s trip is aiming to ease tensions in the Middle East, where the U.S. is supporting Israel’s catastrophic war on Gaza and U.S. military forces have struck Yemen, Iraq and Syria in recent weeks. This comes as Yemen’s Houthi forces say they fired more missiles at two U.S.- and U.K.-owned vessels in the Red Sea. The Houthi movement said such attacks will continue “until the siege is lifted and the aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is stopped.”

Meanwhile, France’s new foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné, used his first official visit to Israel on Monday to urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow an “immediate ceasefire” and a “massive influx” of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Séjourné also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Monday, where he called for an end to Israeli settler violence.

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