Pentagon chief arrives in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that he had arrived in Tel Aviv to meet with the Israeli leadership and discuss the country’s military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“Wheels down in Tel Aviv. I’ll meet w/ [Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant], [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] & War Cabinet to reiterate America’s ironclad commitment to Israel, discuss IDF [Israel Defense Forces] ops to dismantle Hamas, & underscore the need to protect civilians from harm & enable the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” Austin wrote on X.
Earlier in the day, CNN reported, citing a senior Defense Department official, that the US defense secretary intended to push Israeli officials to define conditions for moving the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip to the next stage.
Last Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at a meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Ramallah that it was necessary to stop the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and called on the US authorities to pressure Israel to do so.
Earlier in the day, Sullivan met with Netanyahu and Gallant in Israel to discuss a transition from high-intensity fighting and heavy airstrikes in the Gaza Strip to less intensive combat and precision strikes. He said the question of when that would happen was under discussion. Sullivan also agreed with Gallant’s earlier remark that the next phase of hostilities could be long and “last more than a few months.”

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