U.S. Defense Secretary Holds Talks in Israel Amid Ongoing Conflict

In Israel, U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met at Tel Aviv today, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was expected to press Israel to wind down major combat operations in Gaza on his visit. France, the U.K. and Germany – some of Israel’s closest allies – also joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend, and Israeli protesters have demanded the government relaunch talks with Hamas on releasing more hostages after three were mistakenly killed by Israeli troops while waving a white flag.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, crushes its still-formidable military capabilities and returns the dozens of hostages still held by the group after its the 7th of October attack, which ignited the war.

The U.S. has vetoed calls for a cease-fire at the U.N. and rushed munitions to Israel while pressing it to take greater steps to avoid harming civilians. More than 100 people were killed in strikes on residential buildings in northern Gaza on Sunday, a Health Ministry official in the Hamas-run territory said.

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