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Secretary Antony J. Blinken speaks to reporters as he leaves Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emorates, December 1, 2023. (Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s plane took off from Tel Aviv’s airport, for Doha, Qatar Friday morning as IDF warplanes were taking off to bomb Gaza. Following his Nov. 30 meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, Blinken had conducted a televised press conference at his hotel in which he apparently repeated, publicly, directives he had urged privately on Israel’s government.

“I made clear that before Israel resumes major military operations, it must put in place humanitarian civilian protection plans that minimize further casualties of innocent Palestinians….” he said. Blinken added, “We discussed the details of Israel’s ongoing planning, and I underscored the imperative to the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south. As I told the prime minister, intent matters, but so does the result.”

Israel resumed bombing Gaza just after the pause expired at about 7:00 a.m. IST (05:00 GMT), while claiming that Hamas first fired rockets toward Israel. The bombings were in southern Gaza, and the IDF dropped leaflets in Gaza City and also on Khan Younis, demanding that Palestinians “evacuate immediately” from that area, to which they had been ordered to move from the north a month ago. Aid trucks, already inspected, were blocked at the Rafah crossing and a backlog of them was building up there.

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