Blinken in Egypt to discuss Gaza war ahead of planned return to Israel

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Oct 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo on Sunday, with plans to head back to Israel on Monday for a second visit in less than a week. This follows a tour of six Arab nations to address the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Cairo, Sunday Oct. 15, 2023, from Saudi Arabia. AP


According to the US Department of State spokesperson, Matthew Miller, who spoke to reporters upon Blinken's arrival in Cairo, "The Secretary of State will be returning to Israel on Monday for further discussions with Israeli leaders."

Blinken started his Middle East tour on Thursday, visiting Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia before he headed to Egypt, which has been communicating with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to end the conflict.

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the US is working with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the UN to ease humanitarian consequences in Gaza and create the proper conditions for aid flow.

For the ninth day in a row, the Israeli army has rained air and artillery strikes on the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands more.

The Israeli attacks come in retaliation for a surprise cross-border attack launched by Hamas on Saturday, 7 October, in which it killed over 1,300 Israelis and took dozens more hostage.

In the past week, Egypt has called for ending Israeli bombardments in Gaza, protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian aid access.

Egypt's National Security Council, chaired by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, also convened on Sunday to review military escalation in the Gaza Strip, firmly rejecting the Israeli displacement policy of Palestinians.

Egypt is coordinating efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza, with aircraft from various countries arriving at Sinai's El-Arish Airport for delivery to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.

However, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry noted in an interview with CNN on Saturday that the Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing have rendered it inoperable.

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