TEL AVIV, Israel (NEWSnetAP) — President Joe Biden will travel to Israel and on to Jordan Wednesday to meet with both Israeli and Arab leadership, as concerns increase that the raging Israel-Hamas war could expand into a larger regional conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Biden’s travel to Israel as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip grows more dire and as Israel prepares for a possible ground attack on the territory, focusing on Hamas militants responsible for the recent lethal attacks.

Biden is looking to send the strongest message yet that the U.S. is behind Israel.

Blinken made the announcement early Tuesday after more than seven hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials. Air raid sirens interrupted Blinken’s meetings on three different occasions Monday, including twice as he huddled with Netanyahu and his war cabinet.

“He is coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region and for the world,” Blinken said.

In Washington, Biden met with his national security team on the situation on the ground in Israel and Gaza. White House chief of staff Jeff Zients joined the briefing led by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns, according to the White House.

The Democratic administration has pledged military support, sending U.S. carriers and aid to the region. Officials have said they would ask Congress for upward of $2 billion in additional aid for both Israel and Ukraine, which is fighting Russia’s invasion.

Blinken said Biden will be briefed by Israeli officials on their war aims and strategy and would hear about how they intend to conduct operations “in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas.”

Shortly after Blinken’s announcement of those travel plans, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced that Biden would also go to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Copyright 2023 NEWSnet and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.