As Israel plans Gaza invasion, US intensifies Middle East outreach

President Joe Biden on Saturday spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging the leaders to allow humanitarian aid to the region, and affirmed his support for efforts to protect civilians.

The weekend calls in Washington came as the U.S. said it was moving up a second carrier strike group in support of Israel, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken intensified diplomatic outreach across the Middle East and beyond to rally an international response to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from expanding.

Blinken met with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh before stopping in the United Arab Emirates as he sought ways to help civilians trapped in between the fighting and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. He also called his Chinese counterpart as Palestinians struggled to flee from areas of Gaza targeted by the Israeli military before an expected land offensive.

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