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US recommends avoiding trips to Israel and evacuated about 120 Pentagon members from the country

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The United States govt on Thursday announced that they have evacuated 120 Pentagon members from Israel following the ongoing violent clashes between the country and the Palestinian groups in the territory.

United States Department of Defense evacuated about 120 members of its personnel on Thursday as a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing violence over clashes with Palestinian groups in the territory, and shortly before the Defense Forces of Israel (IDF) will report the start of ground operations in the Gaza Strip.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby was the one who confirmed that US  personnel departed Thursday in a US Air Force Boeing C-17 transport plane.

The officials were in Israel to plan a future joint exercise, and although they were to withdraw towards the end of the week, the departure was accelerated by the situation in the country, Kirby also reported.

In addition, the State Department on Thursday urged US citizens to “avoid traveling to Israel.” The travel warning level, which had been lowered in recent weeks as the health situation related to the pandemic improved in the Jewish state, was raised from the second to the third notch of four.

“Avoid going to Israel because of the armed conflict and civil unrest,” the State Department wrote in its new warning.

The US government more strongly recommends not traveling to the Gaza Strip due to “terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict,” as well as the West Bank, related to health restrictions.

For the Palestinian Territories, the warning level is the maximum.

Pentagon chief General Lloyd Austin addressed the escalation of violence on Wednesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The last week Israel and Gaza have been the scenes of a dangerous escalation, with the launch by the Hamas terrorist group of at least 1,750 rockets and a harsh Israeli response that included airstrikes and projectiles, after which it called 9,000 more than 9,000 reservists. they could be used to organize a ground operation.

On Thursday night the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) finally reported that ground troops and combat aircraft were “attacking” in the Gaza Strip, apparently confirming the start of these ground operations in addition to the combat air missions. that have been taking place since Monday against Hamas targets.

The scale of these operations was not yet entirely clear. Although for much of the day there were reports of movements of tanks, artillery and Israeli troops to the border with Gaza, the move could be a limited incursion and not necessarily an invasion.

On Wednesday, the United States announced that it would send the State Department’s Deputy Under Secretary for Palestinian and Israeli Affairs, Hady Amr, to the Middle East, calling on Israel to do “everything possible” to avoid civilian casualties.

In a press conference, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, stated that Amr will travel “immediately” to the region to mediate in the conflict and meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. “In particular, he will ask on my behalf and on behalf of President (Joe) Biden for a de-escalation of violence,” Blinken said.

The United States is “deeply concerned about the violence on the streets of Israel,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday. Jews and Palestinians “deserve to participate without fear of violence in upcoming celebrations” linked to the end of Ramadan for Muslims and the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Blinken told reporters.

The Secretary of State again called for an end to the rocket attacks by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Israeli territory and defended Israel’s right to defend itself, as the United States has done on several occasions since the start of this new conflagration.

With information from AP, EFE, AFP

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