Merkel calls off visit to Israel amid Afghanistan crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2021-08-27 01:16:13|Editor: huaxia
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a planned visit to Israel because of the situation in Afghanistan, the Israeli PM's office said on Thursday.

Merkel told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that she needs to call off the visit in order to stay in Germany for the evacuation of German soldiers from Afghanistan, said the statement.

This came after two explosions hit the Afghan capital of Kabul amid rising tensions there following the recent Taliban's takeover of the city.

The first explosion struck the north gate, a military gate of the Kabul airport. The second massive blast occured about 30 minutes later in Baron Camp, a military base near the airport used by coalition forces in the past.

Unconfirmed reports said at least 40 dead bodies and 120 wounded people were transferred to Kabul hospitals.

Merkel planned to arrive in Israel on Saturday for her first visit to Jerusalem since Bennett entered office in June.

During her visit, she was scheduled to meet with Bennett as well as Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Merkel, who will step down as chancellor in September after nearly 16 years in office, last visited Israel in 2018. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Israel,Merkel,Afghanistan Crisis