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"Efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza are complicated by....," says Antony Blinken in Qatar
Doha: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza have been "complicated" as terrorist group Hamas continues to use civilians as "human shields" and is reportedly blocking roads to prevent Palestinians from relocating to southern Gaza.
Terming the humanitarian situation as "urgent" Blinken added that the US is actively engaged with its partners, including Qatar to provide humanitarian aid to those who are in need. He noted that Israel is carrying out operations in Gaza as Hamas carried out terrorist attacks that killed 1,300 Israelis in the "most horrific way."
Taking to X, after a meeting with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Blinken tweeted, "Met with Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs @MBA_AlThani_ about the terrorist attacks in Israel and work to prevent the conflict from spreading."
Addressing a joint press briefing with Sheikh Mohammed after the meeting, Blinken said, "Israel is conducting operations in Gaza because Hamas carried out terrorist attacks that killed - in the most horrific - way 1,300 of its people. Hamas terrorists slaughtered, raped, mutilated, tortured, burned innocent civilians - from babies to the elderly, men, women, boys, and girls," he said.
"Now, efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza are complicated by the fact that Hamas continues to use innocent civilians as human shields, and is reportedly blocking roads to prevent Palestinians from moving to southern Gaza, out of harm's way. We know the humanitarian situation is urgent," the US Secretary said.
"We're actively engaged with partners, including Qatar, to get aid to those who need it," Blinken said.
"Israel has both the right and even the obligation to defend its people and to do everything it can to ensure that what happened last Saturday never happens again," he said.
"I've also been making it clear in all of my conversations throughout this trip that there can be no more business as usual with Hamas," Blinken said.
Qatari PM Sheikh Mohammed said, "The priorities of Qatar within the diplomatic approach is to seek a ceasefire, protect the civilians, release the captives, and to work hard in order not to spread violence in the region because this will have bad consequences."
"We also changed our viewpoints regarding humanitarian corridors to keep the assistances and aid reaching the Palestinians, particularly within the deterioration of the situation in Gaza Strip," the Qatari minister said.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) has asked civilians in Gaza to relocate from their homes and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza for their own safety. The IDF stated that citizens should return only when advised to do so.
In a statement shared on X, IDF stated, "The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza, as shown on the map. The Hamas terrorist organization waged a war against the State of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. This evacuation is for your own safety."
In his remarks, Blinken said that the US will ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself as it continues to respond to Hamas's attack. He spoke about US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin's visit to Israel and said that the US continues to work closely with the "Israelis to make sure that we're providing them what they need and that we'll be able to do that on an ongoing basis."
The US diplomat stated that the US is in constant communication with Israeli officials, and multilateral and international organizations to get aid to civilians in Gaza. He said that the US continues to discuss with Israel the importance of taking every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians.
Prior to arriving in Saudi Arabia, Blinken visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain.
Taking to X, Blinken stated, "As my trip through the Middle East continues, I will meet with Saudi partners to discuss Hamas' terrorist attacks against Israel and the need to work together to prevent the conflict from spreading."
Blinken met with Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in TelAviv on Thursday and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on Friday. He also met Jordan's King Abdullah II the same day.
According to a White House press statement, Blinken embarked on the travel to Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt between October 11 and October 15 where he will meet with senior officials.
According to the latest updates regarding the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that their aerial defence array intercepted two unidentified targets above the city of Haifa.
In a post shared on X, Israeli Defence Forces stated, "The IDF Aerial Defense Array intercepted 2 unidentified targets above the city of Haifa. No sirens were activated according to protocol."
According to IDF, another unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crossed into northern Israel. It stated that the IDF in retaliation struck a Hezbollah terrorist target in Lebanon.
In a statement posted on X, the IDF stated, "Following the initial report, another unidentified UAV crossed into northern Israel. Additionally, an IDF UAV was fired upon. In response, the IDF struck a Hezbollah terrorist target in southern Lebanon."