Antony Blinken is on a tour of the Middle East (File/Reuters)
Hamas is a terrorist group and its only agenda is to destroy Israel and murder Jews, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The group is not a representative of the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for the future, he added.
"Hamas is not a representative of the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for the future. Hamas is a terrorist group and its only agenda is to destroy Israel and murder Jews. And it is important that the entire world sees it as such. This is an important moment for more clarity when it comes to Hamas," the US State Secretary said during a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan.
Blinken further said that no country can or should be expected to tolerate what Israel has just been on the receiving end of, which is an attack that also defies description in words, in which 1,300 of its people were slaughtered along with the nationals of more than 30 other countries by Hamas.
Blinken is on a visit to Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt from October 11-15 to meet with senior officials and reiterate his condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Israel, reaffirming the United States' solidarity with the government and people of Israel, as per a release issued by the US State Department.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Foreign Minister said the primary sufferers of the Israel-Palestine conflict "are civilians, civilian population on both sides... I think we all condemn the targeting of civilians in any form, at any time, and by anyone... The priority now needs to be to stop further civilian suffering..."
He said: "We need to find a way to quickly de-escalate the situation (Israel-Palestine conflict)... at least stopping the guns and working towards addressing the cause of humanitarian challenges. I have to emphasise that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very difficult. We need to work together to make sure that access to humanitarian relief is allowed...We need to work together to find a way out of the cycle of violence..."
Earlier, Blinken said that efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza have been "complicated" as terrorist group Hamas continues to use civilians as "human shields" and is reportedly blocking roads to prevent Palestinians from relocating to southern Gaza.
Terming the humanitarian situation as "urgent" Blinken added that the US is actively engaged with its partners, including Qatar to provide humanitarian aid to those who are in need. He noted that Israel is carrying out operations in Gaza as Hamas carried out terrorist attacks that killed 1,300 Israelis in the "most horrific way."
Taking to X, after a meeting with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Blinken tweeted, "Met with Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs about the terrorist attacks in Israel and work to prevent the conflict from spreading."
Addressing a joint press briefing with Sheikh Mohammed after the meeting, Blinken said, "Israel is conducting operations in Gaza because Hamas carried out terrorist attacks that killed - in the most horrific - way 1,300 of its people. Hamas terrorists slaughtered, raped, mutilated, tortured, burned innocent civilians - from babies to the elderly, men, women, boys, and girls," he said.
"Now, efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza are complicated by the fact that Hamas continues to use innocent civilians as human shields, and is reportedly blocking roads to prevent Palestinians from moving to southern Gaza, out of harm's way. We know the humanitarian situation is urgent," the US Secretary said.
"We're actively engaged with partners, including Qatar, to get aid to those who need it," Blinken said.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops are mobilizing towards Gaza. Aerial patrolling is also being sent at the Gaza border.
It was recently reported that Israeli soldiers, their tanks, and munitions have been deployed near the Gaza border as they prepare for a full ground offensive against Hamas.
In the pictures coming in from the Gaza border, tanks can be seen firing shells towards the Gaza Strip. Moreover, soldiers are seen loading artillery shells into howitzers.
Earlier in the day, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) asked residents of the Northern Gaza Strip to relocate to the southern part of the enclave using evacuation corridors between 10 am to 4 pm (local time), The Times of Israel reported.
The Israeli military said, "If you care about yourself and your loved ones, go south as instructed." It further said, "Rest assured that Hamas leaders have taken care of themselves and are taking cover from strikes in the region."
Their message indicated that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground invasion in response to Hamas's attack on October 7.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)