Blinken on diplomacy push in Israel as it says war to continue all year

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to meet Israeli leaders on Tuesday in his quest to prevent the Gaza conflict from growing into a regional conflagration, as the Israeli military said its fight against Hamas would continue all year.

Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv late on Monday to brief Israeli officials on his two days of talks with Arab leaders on ending the war, which was triggered by Hamas militants’ attack on Oct. 7 that by Israeli tallies killed about 1,200 people.

He also said he would press Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “on the absolute imperative to do more to protect civilians and to do more to make sure that humanitarian assistance is getting into the hands of those who need it”.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, destroyed much of Gaza and displaced most of the population of 2.3 million, creating a worsening humanitarian crisis.

In the latest sign that the war may be spreading, Israel killed a top commander of Hamas’ ally Hezbollah in south Lebanon on Monday, sources familiar with the group’s operations said.

Sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters Israel is also carrying out an unprecedented wave of deadly strikes in Syria targeting cargo trucks, infrastructure and people involved in Iran’s weapons lifeline to its proxies in the region.

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Comfort Samuel

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