CIA chief makes unexpected visit to Israel

The CIA chief’s visit to Israel was out of the blue as he held talks with top Israeli officials, Israel’s Channel 12 and local media reported. 

William Burns met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Israeli intelligence agency Mossad’s head David Barnea on February 15. 

It is said that the talks were surrounding a sustainable ceasefire deal and the release of Israeli hostages from the war-torn Gaza. 

A day prior, it was announced that FBI director Christopher Wray jetted off to Israel to meet the country’s law and intelligence agencies. 

Wray also met with Tel Aviv-based FBI agents and discussed what he said was the threat of Palestinian militants Hamas as well as Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. 

READ: Israel and Hamas “making progress” on 30-day truce deal

Stressing his personal and the FBI’s support for the state, Mr Wray was quoted saying, “The FBI’s partnership with our Israeli counterparts is longstanding, close, and robust, and I’m confident the closeness of our agencies contributed to our ability to move so quickly in response to these attacks (on October 7), and to ensure our support is as seamless as possible,”  

It is believed that there are around 130 hostages still in Gaza two of whom were rescued on February 12 in Rafah, the enclave’s most southern city now home to 1.5 million Palestinians given the mass displacement caused by Israeli hostilities. 

Around 70 Palestinians died in 24 hours during the “rescue mission” and many are fearing a Rafah invasion. 

Officials from Israel, Egypt, Qatar and the US held a meeting in Cairo on February 13 to discuss a cessation of hostilities as well as the release of all Israeli hostages in exchange for a significant number of the 7,000 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. 

Recently, Hamas proposed a near five-month long ceasefire in swap for the release of all captives however Netanyahu continues to be reluctant to negotiate with the group, vowing to continue the war on Gaza until they have been destroyed. 

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office hasn’t commented yet regarding talks with the CIA director. 

Channel 12/ Axios 

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