President Joe Biden is no longer scheduled to travel to Jordan on Wednesday after he visits Israel, a senior administration official said.
Biden, who left for Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, had planned to meet with Arab leaders in Amman after a visit to Israel in a show of support for the U.S. ally in its war with Hamas.
“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President Sisi of Egypt,” a White House official said in a statement.
Biden sent his deepest condolences for “the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the official said, adding that Biden will consult in person with those leaders soon and will “remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days.”
The situation in Gaza would most likely have been a key part of the discussions in Jordan, including the hostages believed to be held captive by Hamas, some of whom are American.
A Jordanian official said all parties agreed to the cancellation, saying the summit would not achieve any goals under the current circumstances.
Jordan had announced Tuesday morning that King Abdullah would host a four-way summit in Amman on Wednesday with Biden, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the situation in Gaza.
A blast at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, a Christian-run medical complex in central Gaza City, killed 200 to 300 people Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf Al Qudra, said the Israel Defense Forces had targeted the hospital for bombing. Hamas, which was responsible for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel, also blamed Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that Israel was responsible, saying, “It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, visited Amman on Tuesday for meetings with Abbas and the king of Jordan. Blinken has been engaging in shuttle diplomacy across the Middle East over the past week, meeting with Arab leaders from multiple countries.