Blinken to make surprise visit to Bahrain: US official

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US official

Tel Aviv, Jan 10 (AFP/APP/DNA):US top diplomat Antony Blinken will make a surprise visit to Bahrain Wednesday, a State Department official said, the latest leg of a crisis tour of the Middle East.

After meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Blinken will fly to Bahrain for talks with King Hamad on preventing a regional escalation of the Israel-Palestine war in Gaza.

The Gulf kingdom is a key partner of Washington and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain last month joined a 10-country naval task force announced by the United States to protect the vital Red Sea shipping route.

Blinken is on his fouth Middle East tour since war broke out with the October 7 attacks on Israel.

The US top diplomat said Tuesday that the war had exacted “far too high” a toll among civilians in Gaza, particularly children, and called for more food and medical aid to be delivered to the territory.

Israel’s relentless offensive has killed 23,200 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.