TEL AVIV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took shelter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bunker during an air raid alert, as the top diplomat returned to Israel on Monday in hopes of securing progress on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Blinken is also seeking to prevent the conflict spreading as he travels around the Middle East in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct 7 raids in the Jewish state.
During a meeting at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv, which lasted more than five hours into Monday night, Blinken and Netanyahu were forced to shelter in a bunker for five minutes after sirens rang out, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
Speaking to reporters after an earlier meeting with Blinken, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said: “This will be a long war; the price will be high. But we are going to win for Israel and the Jewish people and for the values that both countries believe in.”
Blinken was in Egypt on Sunday, where he said the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing into Gaza would soon reopen, but a deal to allow aid in and for some foreign citizens to leave had not yet materialised.
Washington has moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2023