Blinken is set to visit Israel again amid growing fears of a possible war

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed it was Blinken’s fourth trip to the region since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas, but declined to provide further details on the itinerary, other than a stop in Israel.

The announcement came after two explosions in Iran on Wednesday killed dozens of people gathered at the tomb of Revolutionary Guard General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed four years ago, to honor his memory.

Hamas backer Tehran blamed the United States and Israel for the attack, which according to the latest reports killed 84 and wounded 284 others.

While Washington rejected any suggestion that either country was involved, a US official told AFP that Tuesday’s strike in a Beirut suburb that killed a senior Hamas figure was the work of Israel.

Before announcing Blinken’s visit, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller echoed the fears of many about the escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.

“No one — no country in the region, no country in the world — is in the interest of this conflict escalating further,” Miller said.

Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi, who visited the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday, where the Jewish state’s forces are regularly engaged in firefights with Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters, said troops were on very high alert.

The hostilities could spill over into the Gulf state after the United States and allies jointly warned Yemen’s Houthi rebels of unspecified consequences if they do not immediately end attacks on ships in the Red Sea in solidarity with Hamas.

“I wouldn’t expect another warning,” said a senior U.S. official, calling the message from allies “very clear.”

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Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip began after a bloody October 7 attack by the militants, which Israel says killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians.

The militants also took about 250 hostages to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, of which the Jewish state says 129 remain in captivity.

In response, Israel vowed to destroy the group and launched a relentless bombardment and ground invasion that reduced much of the Gaza Strip to rubble and killed at least 22,313 people, according to the territory’s health ministry.

According to the United Nations, 1.9 million Residents of the Gaza Strip have been forced to flee their homes and the World Health Organization has warned of the risk of starvation and disease with only minimal aid reaching the area.

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2024-07-10 12:19:37

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