Obama departs Washington for 4-day visit to Israel
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE (AFP) - Mr Barack Obama departed late on Tuesday en route to Israel for a four-day trip to the Middle East, a journalist traveling with the US president said.
The president's airplane, Air Force One, took off from Andrews Air Force Base outside the US capital.
US officials have styled Mr Obama's trip as an effort to reconnect with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he had a delicate relationship during his first term, and to coordinate on key issues like Iran and Syria.
Mr Obama will also travel to see Palestinian leaders on the West Bank and visit Jordan on the first foreign policy mission of his second term.