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Blinken visits Israel amid violence with Palestinians, Iran attack

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TEL AVIV – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday, about a month into Israel’s new ultra-right-wing, religiously conservative government led by returning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The top U.S. diplomat’s trip coincides with a flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence. But it was long planned, and follows a visit to Egypt. Blinken is in the region to take stock ofthreats new and old — new threats to checks and balances on Israel’s democracy, often described as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” and familiar threats from Iran.

Israel-Palestinian violence: What happened? Why this new uptick?

Israel routinely raids Palestinian areas to arrest suspected militants and round up weapons. Nine Palestinians were killed on Thursday when Israel’s army raided a refugee camp in Jenin, in the West Bank. Seven of those killed were militants, three of whom belonged to the Islamic Jihad group. One of the civilians who died was a 61-year-old woman. The death toll was one of the highest for a single raid in years. 

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