Blinken’s Turkey Visit: Exploring His Latest Mideast Tour

(Bloomberg) — Israeli troops have surrounded Gaza City, effectively isolating the northern part of the Gaza Strip from the south, according to Israel’s military.

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US Secretary of State made an unexpected visit to Baghdad to strengthen US efforts in preventing the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading. He also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank to discuss the role of the organization in shaping Gaza’s future post-Hamas. Blinken is now in Turkey.

The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration is frustrated by the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry claims that approximately 9,500 individuals have been killed in Israeli attacks.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

Blinken Arrives in Turkey (7:17 a.m.)

Blinken has arrived in Ankara and is scheduled to meet with Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan on Monday. The discussions will cover aid delivery to Gaza and efforts to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from escalating into a regional conflict.

Iraq’s Al-Sudani Visits Iran to Discuss Gaza (6:40 a.m.)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani traveled to Tehran on Monday for talks on the Israel-Hamas conflict with senior Iranian officials, as reported by Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

After his visit to Iran, Al-Sudani will tour Gulf Cooperation Council countries, according to IRNA. This trip follows his meeting with Blinken in Baghdad.

Biden Administration Sees Limited Options Amid Gaza Fallout, as per WP (3:50 a.m.)

Biden administration officials acknowledge that Israel’s military campaign against Hamas has resulted in significant civilian casualties and lacks a clear endgame. However, they are facing challenges in exerting substantial influence over their ally, according to the Washington Post. The article cited an anonymous senior administration official, while the White House declined to comment.

From Oct. 25: Israel Is Losing Support as Criticism Grows Over Its Strikes on Gaza

The administration’s focus is on assuaging anger among Arab nations by expressing distress over the situation in Gaza. Yet, there is little indication that Arab leaders are swayed by these assurances. Consequently, the future of the Middle East after the war and the extent of US involvement remain uncertain.

Jordan Air-Drops Medical Aid to Gaza Hospital (1:49 a.m.)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced that his nation has air-dropped “urgent medical aid” to a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza City.

“This is our responsibility to assist our brothers and sisters affected by the war in Gaza,” the king wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We will always support our Palestinian brethren.”

Jordan has strongly criticized Israel’s military operations in Gaza and recently recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest.

CIA Chief Visits Israel in Regional Tour (10 p.m.)

William Burns, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, arrived in Israel for the first leg of his Middle East tour, according to unnamed US officials cited by the New York Times.

The US seeks to enhance intelligence cooperation with Israel and other regional allies. One of the topics on the agenda is the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Israel Conducts “Significant, Expanded” Attack on Gaza City (8:57 p.m.)

According to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s army spokesman, Israeli troops have completely encircled Gaza City, effectively separating the northern part of the Gaza Strip from the south. The Israeli military is targeting senior Hamas commanders.

However, it should be noted that a humanitarian corridor remains open for residents of Gaza City to move south, as emphasized by Hagari.

Israel Fires on Lebanese Hezbollah Targets (8:52 p.m.)

Following the killing of a civilian by anti-tank fire from Lebanon, the Israeli military retaliated by attacking Hezbollah targets. They also targeted “terrorist infrastructure, terrorist units, and vehicles used by terrorists.” Additionally, they intercepted an armed aircraft on its way to Israel.

Blinken Makes Unannounced Stop in Baghdad (8:50 p.m.)

Blinken made an impromptu visit to Baghdad, furthering US efforts to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading.

Blinken’s visit came amidst repeated attacks on US military forces in the Middle East, primarily in Iraq and Syria, by groups believed to be backed by Iran, according to US officials.

Blinken Makes Unannounced Stop in Baghdad After West Bank Visit

“It was crucial to send a clear message to anyone contemplating taking advantage of the conflict in Gaza to threaten our personnel in this region or elsewhere,” Blinken told reporters in Baghdad on Sunday. “Don’t do it.”

Internet and Communication Disrupted in Gaza (6:40 p.m.)

For the third time since the Israel-Hamas conflict began, internet and telecom services have been disrupted in Gaza, as stated by Paltel, the main telecom provider in the Palestinian territory.

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