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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Visit to Israel

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III traveled to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, and the Israel War Cabinet. This was his fourth trip to Israel as Secretary of Defense and his second since Hamas' terrorist attack on October 7. During his visit, the Secretary reiterated the unwavering U.S. commitment to Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism and called for the immediate return of all hostages.

In his meetings with Israeli leaders, Secretary Austin underscored the need for concerted efforts to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza, urging further action. The Secretary consulted with Israeli leaders on their progress in the campaign to dismantle Hamas' military infrastructure and urged planning for transitioning to the next phase of operations. 

The Secretary asserted that stabilizing the West Bank and holding violent extremists accountable are critical steps, and more action is urgently needed.

Secretary Austin reiterated U.S. resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to expand the conflict beyond Gaza. He shared his view that Lebanese Hezbollah forces should move away from the border with Israel and cease attacks so that Israeli communities can return to their homes. He discussed U.S. commitment to freedom of navigation and called for international action in response to Houthi aggression in the Red Sea.