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Hamas slams Blinken's visit to Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a speech in Washington, DC [Nathan Posner - Anadolu Agency]
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a speech in Washington, DC [Nathan Posner - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian group, Hamas, on Monday condemned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Israel, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Blinken arrived in Israel, on Monday, from Egypt on the second leg of his tour in the Middle East region that will also take him to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Hamas spokesman, Abdul-Latif Al-Qanou said the US diplomat's visit "aims to bolster partnership and support to the [Israeli] Occupation."

"This visit provides a cover to the extremist government to enforce its criminal policies and aggression against the Palestinian people, their sanctities and their details," he added.

Upon his arrival in Israel, Blinken called on both the Israelis and Palestinians "to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them."

READ: Blinken reaffirms need for two-state solution as he lands in Israel

At least seven Israelis were killed in a shooting attack in an Israeli settlement in Occupied East Jerusalem Friday night, a day after nine Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Blinken is the third high-ranking US official to visit the region since the formation of the current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu last month after US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, and CIA Director, William Burns.

According to the State Department, Blinken will discuss with Israeli officials the enduring US support for Israel's security, particularly against threats from Iran.

The talks will also take up Israel's deepening integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, and a range of other global and regional issues.

In the West Bank, Blinken will meet with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and senior officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, political reforms and further strengthening the US relationship with the Palestinians.

READ: Hamas military wing downs Israeli drone

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