Politics

Blinken arrives in Israel to discuss extension of humanitarian pause

Humanitarian pause in Gaza set to end Thursday morning at 7 a.m. local time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel late Wednesday to discuss the possibility of extending a humanitarian pause in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said this is Blinken’s fourth visit to the country since the outbreak of fighting on Oct. 7.

He is expected to meet with top Israeli officials to discuss the extension as well as the possibility of increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Blinken is also expected to visit Ramallah and meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the daily said.

As of midnight Wednesday, there was no announcement on the extension of the Qatari-mediated humanitarian pause in Gaza which ends on Thursday morning at 7 a.m. local time (0500GMT).

The Israeli War Cabinet was also convening before Blinken’s arrival to Israel to discuss the issue of extending the humanitarian pause but no announcement has been made on the meeting.

Qatar announced an agreement late Monday to extend the initial four-day pause in Gaza for two more days, under which further prisoner exchanges would be carried out.

Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.

It has since killed over 15,000 people, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.

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