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US’s Blinken lands in Saudi for first stop in Mideast trip

STORY: The top U.S. diplomat’s fifth trip to the region since Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack comes at a perilous moment and amid retaliatory U.S. strikes on Iran-backed militia across Syria, Iraq and Yemen in response to a drone strike last week in Jordan that killed three American troops and wounded dozens.

Blinken is also set to visit Egypt, Qatar and Israel later this week and push to advance the Egyptian- and Qatari-mediated conversations with Hamas to achieve a hostage deal.

In Riyadh, Blinken was expected to meet with the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as his Saudi counterpart, foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

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