Lloyd Austin (L) and Yoav Gallant (R)
Lloyd Austin (L) and Yoav Gallant (R)Ariel Hermoni/IMoD

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host Defense Minister Yoav Gallant next week for a bilateral meeting at the US Defense Department, an American defense official said on Tuesday, according to the Reuters news agency.

The meeting comes after Austin recently invited Gallant for a visit, the official added.

The US official also noted that meeting between Gallant and Austin is separate from Monday's announcement, after a call between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who agreed to send a team of senior officials to Washington to discuss developments regarding the war in Gaza

Gallant and Austin have spoken numerous times since the start of the war in Gaza on October 7.

During a call earlier this month, Gallant briefed the Secretary on developments in the war against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, and the progress made in reaching the goals of the war: The destruction of Hamas as a military and governing authority, and the return of hostages to their homes.

Biden, commenting Monday on the conversation he held with Netanyahu, wrote on social media that the two discussed the latest developments in Israel and Gaza.

“I continued to affirm that Israel has a right to go after Hamas, a group of terrorists responsible for the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust. And I reiterated the need for an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free hostages, lasting several weeks, so we can get hostages home and surge aid to civilians in Gaza,” Biden said.

“I asked the Prime Minister to send a team to Washington to discuss ways to target Hamas without a major ground operation in Rafah,” he concluded.