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U.S. Defense Secretary Visits Israel, Vows More Aid

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements to the media inside The Kirya, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defense, after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Thursday Oct. 12, 2023. President Joe Biden is dispatching his top diplomat to Israel on an urgent mission to show U.S. support after the unprecedented attack by Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel on Friday, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The visit came one day after the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, amidst major fighting between Israel and Hamas that has continued for around a week.

“The security assistance will continue,” Austin said at a joint press conference with Gallant, after meeting with Israeli senior defense officials at the military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Austin emphasized the continuous supply of military aid to Israel, including munitions and air defense interceptors, among other resources.

The U.S. official also called for the immediate release of hostages being held by the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) since last week.

In addition, Austin also met Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also visited Israel on Friday and visited one of the cities frequently targeted by Hamas rocket fire.