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Blinken speaks with Ashkenazi, says US expects de-escalation

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is seen during a joint press conference with his Danish counterpart in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 17, 2021. (Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is seen during a joint press conference with his Danish counterpart in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 17, 2021. (Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweets that he spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi to tell him the US expects to see a de-escalation in the violence and moves toward a ceasefire.

“I spoke with Gabi Ashkenazi about efforts to end the violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians including children,” Blinken tweets. “The US expects to see de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire.”

The conversation comes with Israel under increasing pressure from Washington to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip as it enters its 11th day.

US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Wednesday phone call, their fourth on the matter, that he expected “a significant de-escalation” that day. Soon after, however, Netanyahu said he was “determined to continue this operation” against Hamas until “peace and security” were restored for Israel’s rocket-battered citizens.

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