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Pentagon pulls Defense Department support for congressional travel to Israel, restricts official visits

By Oren Liebermann, CNN

(CNN) — The Pentagon has pulled Defense Department support for congressional visits to Israel and restricted official visits nearly a month into the Israel-Hamas war, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

The memo, written by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and dated October 31, discourages members of Congress and their staff from visiting Israel, saying Defense Department “support to Congressional delegation visits will be unavailable to Israel during this period.”

A defense official said a congressional visit to Israel would create an “undue burden to our service members,” warning that the situation is “incredibly dangerous right now.”

Punchbowl News first reported on the memo.

A bipartisan Senate delegation led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was forced to rush to shelter from rockets during a visit in mid-October. Since the visit, Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza has heightened tensions around the region as the US watches for the possibility of escalation across the Middle East.

Austin noted that the policy does not affect the normal flow of military and civilian personnel to US Central Command, nor does it apply to the president, vice president or the top leaders of the military. Other senior members of the military may ask for approval to travel to Israel.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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