Washington DC, November 29


he United States supports further extension in the operational pause between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of all the hostages in captivity, the White House said on Tuesday.

"We want to see all the hostages released. And so, if there can be extended pauses beyond these two-day extensions...we're in favour of that. And we're going to keep working on this, as I said, hour by hour with all our partners in the region," White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

On being asked about the upcoming visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Middle East, Kirby said that his fourth visit will primarily focus on reaffirming US support to Israel and facilitating humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

He further added that Blinken will meet with his Israeli counterparts and other counterparts in the region.

"It is about making sure that, number one, Israel knows that they continue to have the support of the United States, that they continue to get the tools, the capabilities, and the weapon systems that they need to continue to defend themselves against Hamas. Number two, it's all about getting that humanitarian assistance in," Kirby said.

He added, "And so, the President has directed the entire team all across the administration, certainly in the national security agencies, to continue to work that. And I think you'll see that those will be the prime focuses of Secretary Blinken on his trip".

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be making his fourth visit to Israel this week. He will also visit West Bank, Belgium, North Macedonia and UAE during his trip.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that President Biden and the entire national security team are engaged in the situation in the Middle East regarding humanitarian aid, operational pause and the release of hostages.

He further informed that the first of three military flights, C-17s, landed in Egypt on Tuesday with humanitarian assistance: food, water, medicine, and supplies.

"Some 54,000 pounds on the first aircraft. We expect two more aircraft to come in coming days," Kirby said.

He added, "Also, on the ground, another 200 trucks got in through Rafah, and another 200 joined 200 that are in the queue. So, now there are 400 trucks in the queue to get into Rafah".

The White House spokesperson also thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his support in allowing humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

"And we couldn't do it without the help of President Sisi of Egypt, both in terms of the ground movement and this air movement now -- this US military aircraft that we're using. So, we thank him and -- and his government greatly for that," he said.

Regarding the hostage situation, he said that 12 individuals were released on Tuesday but it didn't include any Americans.

"We are on the first day of this two-day extension of the deal. Another 12 individuals got out today: 10 Israelis, 2 from Thailand. No Americans, unfortunately, got out today. But we are hopeful. You know, tomorrow is another day. And we certainly hope that we can see some more Americans come out," he further said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hamas released 12 more hostages, including two foreign nationals, on the first day of the extended truce between Israel and Hamas. Israel also released 30 Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal.

US supports extension in Israel-Hamas conflict pause: White House ahead of Blinken's visit to Israel

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