Blinken says US will ‘always be there’ for Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has promised unwavering support for Israel in its fight against what he described as a Hamas “reign of terror”.

Speaking with PM Benjamin Netanyahu about last weekend’s deadly attack by Gaza-based militants, Mr Blinken said Israel will “never, ever” be alone.

He also urged Israel to avoid harming civilians in the conflict.

At least 1,300 Israelis were killed, and over 1,400 Palestinians have died in air strikes on Gaza.

Twenty-seven US citizens are known to have died in Israel and 14 are missing, feared abducted.

Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the US and European Union, took up to 150 people hostage when its gunmen stormed through the Gaza security barrier on Saturday in a co-ordinated land, air and sea attack. It was the deadliest assault by Palestinian militants in Israel’s 75-year history.

America’s top diplomat met Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Thursday, where he was thanked for the US support.

During a joint press conference, Mr Blinken told Israelis “you may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists you will never, ever have to”.

He also stressed the importance of taking “every possible precaution” to avoid harming more civilians as fighting continues.

The US mourned “the loss of every innocent life”, he added.



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