President Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday to deliver a strong message of support to a major US ally that has declared war on the Palestinian Hamas movement because of its military activity.. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday during his second visit to the Jewish state in a week that Mr. Biden “comes here at a critical moment for Israel, the region and the world.”
Blinken also said that the United States and Israel “agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor countries and multinational organizations to reach civilians in Gaza,” the small, densely populated Palestinian territory that Hamas has run for nearly two decades. Continuing Israeli air strikes and a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, imposed by Israel following the Hamas attack on October 7, have driven nearly half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes and created a humanitarian food, fuel and water crisis. Extremely short run.
Officials in Gaza say that the Israeli bombing killed more than 2,800 people and injured nearly 11,000 others, the majority of whom were women and children. In Israel, officials say the Hamas siege and ongoing rocket attacks have killed about 1,400 people and injured 3,500 others. Hamas is said to be holding nearly 200 hostages, including Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Thirteen American citizens are still missing after the raids launched by Hamas on Israel, and 30 American citizens have been confirmed killed. Up to 600 US citizens are believed to be among hundreds of thousands of people trapped in Gaza.
The biggest questions Tuesday morning remained when Israel would launch its widely expected ground invasion of Gaza, after vowing to destroy Hamas on its territory, and when Israel and Egypt — which controls the only border crossing outside southern Gaza, at Rafah — might agree to that. To open that gate to allow at least some foreign nationals to escape and humanitarian supplies to enter.
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