US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with influential key counterparts in the Middle East on Sunday as the United States seeks to defuse the deadly clashes between Israel and the Palestinians.
Blinken, who was en route to Denmark on Sunday at the start of a week of Arctic-centric diplomacy, spoke by phone with officials in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France.
After Iran, Qatar is considered to have the greatest influence over the militant Hamas group.
“The secretary reiterated his call for all parties to defuse tensions and end the violence, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children,” said the spokesperson for the department. ‘State Ned Price.
Each of Blinken’s calls sounded on these themes, according to the State Department’s readings.
The calls followed the deadliest day of the nearly week-long outbreak, as Israeli strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the UN Security Council held a virtual meeting in the middle global conflict alarm.
Blinken’s appeals also came a day after President Joe Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas to express his “grave concern” at the deteriorating situation and urge both sides to exercise restraint.
The heaviest exchange of fire in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, has killed 197 people in Gaza since Monday, as well as 10 in Israel, according to authorities on each side.
The IDF said on Sunday that around 3,000 rockets had been fired from the coastal strip into Israel – the highest rate on record.
The rockets injured more than 280 people, hitting neighborhoods that were previously well beyond the range of Hamas rockets.
Israel said on Sunday morning that its “continuing wave of strikes” had struck more than 90 targets across the overcrowded coastal enclave in the past 24 hours, where an Israeli strike that destroyed a building housing journalists’ offices triggered the strike. international indignation.
© 2021 AFP