Blinken to depart for Mideast today, include stop in Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will depart on Thursday for the Middle East, including a stop in Israel, as the United States continues diplomatic consultations on the Israel-Hamas war, says a senior US official.

Blinken leaves Thursday night “for stops in a number of capitals, including Israel,” the official says. The official provides no further details.

The official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, also said US diplomatic envoy Amos Hochstein will also travel to Israel to work to soothe mounting tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent days as he works to improve access to Gaza for humanitarian aid and gain the release of hostages held by Hamas.

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