Blinken suspends plans for Middle East trip amid war in Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suspended initial plans for a trip to the Middle East which was aimed at solidifying ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as other Arab neighbors. Blinken had planned to visit Saudi Arabia and Morocco, but both of those visits are almost certain to be scrapped, according to The Associated Press. Blinken may still go through with a visit to Israel, however. Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel came just as the U.S. was negotiating the normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The move would have been a major victory for the parties involved, but a major defeat for Iran, which has long supported Hamas terrorism in Gaza. Israel and Saudi Arabia reached a preliminary agreement on normalizing ties in August. The deal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would have seen the recognition come in exchange for concessions to Palestinians, U.S. assistance in building a civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia, and it would have included U.S. security guarantees. US NAVY MOVING WARSHIPS, AIRCRAFT CLOSER TO ISRAEL AMID HAMAS WAR The Saudis have long criticized Israel’s handling of Palestinians and the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing war could derail negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the war against Hamas will be “long and difficult.” The Israeli military has carried out more than 1,000 air strikes in Gaza since Saturday, and Netanyahu says they are just getting started. “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations,” Netanyahu said Monday. AT LEAST 9 AMERICANS MURDERED IN HAMAS ATTACKS Israel has, so far, issued warnings to civilians in areas of Gaza City and others where they intend to strike. The warnings have given civilians moments to evacuate to reduce the number of civilian deaths. CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS COVERAGE OF ISRAEL’S WAR WITH HAMAS Hamas has threatened to start executing captured Israelis if strikes target civilians without warning. Israel said that Hamas is holding more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage in Gaza. The war is only expected to escalate as Israel could launch a ground invasion to eradicate Hamas from Gaza. On Tuesday morning, Israel’s military said it regained effective control over areas near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, which was breached over the weekend in Saturday’s surprise attack. Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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