Biden says Hamas attack on Israel aimed at disrupting Israel-Saudi thaw

United States President Joe Biden has said he believes Hamas carried out its unprecedented attacks on Israel to derail a diplomatic thaw between the country and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Washington on Friday, Biden said Hamas carried out the October 7 attacks in part to disrupt his efforts to normalise Israel-Saudi relations.

Just last week, Biden had said the prospect of normalisation was “still alive” but would take time, after Saudi officials reportedly paused talks with Israel in the aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 attacks and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Riyadh has expressed concern about the fate of Palestinians in Gaza, which has been pummelled by Israeli air strikes that Palestinian officials say have killed at least 4,137 people.

Saudi Arabia backed the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords that saw the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalise ties with Israel in 2020, but has so far not recognised Israel itself.

The Biden administration has pushed for the normalisation of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Washington’s two most powerful allies in the Middle East, and there had been signs of warming ties between the sides in recent months.

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