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Blinken forced to shelter in Israel as air sirens go off in Tel Aviv

Secretary of State Antony Blinken sheltered in a bunker in Tel Aviv for five minutes Monday after air sirens interrupted his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet. 

“While Secretary Blinken was meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the war cabinet in Tel Aviv, air raid sirens went off. They took shelter in a bunker for approximately 5 minutes,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement to The Hill.

The incident came as Blinken made his second stop in Israel in recent days, meeting with government officials after visiting other foreign leaders in the region. Blinken’s trip has focused on reaffirming the United States’s support for Israel, facilitating humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza and working on the “speedy release” of the nearly 200 estimated hostages in Hamas’s custody.

During his latest meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken “discussed his engagements with partners in the region and received an update on the situation on the ground,” Miller said. “The Secretary underlined his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. determination to provide the Israeli government with what it needs to protect its citizens.”

The trip also comes as Israel prepares for a possible ground offensive in Gaza, just over one week after Hamas launched a surprise attack killing an estimated 1,400 Israelis. 

Source: The Hill

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