US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lands in Israel and is met at the airport by a number of officials, including Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
He does not make a statement to the gathered reporters.
He is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other senior officials.
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Speaking to reporters before boarding a plane at Joint Base Andrews, Blinken said he’s heading to Israel with “a very simple and clear message on behalf of the president of the United States and on behalf of the American people, and that is that the United States has Israel’s back.
“We have the back of the Israeli people. We have their back today. We’ll have it tomorrow. We will have it every day,” Blinken said.
Blinken reiterated that the US is determined to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, highlighting the Islamic State-levels of depravity committed by Hamas.
He said the US will continue working to ensure that no additional actors join the fight against Israel.
Blinken added that he’ll also work with Israeli counterparts to locate the hostages — including American citizens — and work to secure their release.
Pressed on whether the Biden administration has urged Israel to exercise restraint in responding to the Hamas attacks, Blinken said, “We know that Israel will take all of the precautions that it can – just as we would. That’s what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities.”
Blinken will travel to Amman on Friday where he will meet with senior Jordanian officials as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be traveling with a delegation that includes PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj and PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian official says.