U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday (October 18), beginning a visit to show solidarity and to confer on the spiralling Gaza war, Reuters reports.
Descending from the plane amid a large security contingent, Biden embraced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog on the tarmac.
Biden arrived to Israel a day after a strike on a Gaza hospital that killed hundreds of Palestinians, deepening tensions in the Middle East and raising the stakes for Biden’s visit.
Biden's complex diplomatic mission to the Middle East was supposed to calm the region and shore up humanitarian efforts for Gaza, but after the hospital strike, Jordan cancelled a planned summit with the U.S. president, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Palestinian officials said an Israeli air strike hit the hospital, with the Palestinian Authority's health minister accusing Israel of causing a "massacre". Israel blamed the blast at Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital on a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which denied responsibility.