Last updated: 16 April, 2013

Hagel due to visit Israel on April 21, confirms Israeli official

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is due in Israel for an official visit on April 21 on his first trip to the region since taking over as Pentagon chief, an Israeli official confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

According to the official, Hagel will be arriving “on Sunday” for “a short working visit.”

A report on Israel’s army radio last week had said that Iran’s nuclear programme and the crisis in Syria would top Hagel’s agenda.

It will be the third visit in a month by a senior US official, led by President Barack Obama who on March 20 made his first visit to the region since taking over the White House in 2009.

And Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry on April 9 wrapped up a three-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, his second in as many weeks.