• Friday, May 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak urges end to Israel-Hamas war

“The whole of the UK is shocked by the bloodshed,” he said.

FILE PHOTO: Rishi Sunak speaks as he visits an apprentice training centre at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), in Coventry, Britain, March 18, 2024. REUTERS/Carl Recine

By: Pramod Thomas

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak said the “terrible” war between Israel and Hamas “must end”, six months on from the start of the conflict.

“We continue to stand by Israel’s right to defeat the threat from Hamas terrorists and defend their security. But the whole of the UK is shocked by the bloodshed,” he said in a statement.

“This terrible conflict must end. The hostages must be released. The aid –- which we have been straining every sinew to deliver by land, air and sea -– must be flooded in,” he added.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war began on October 7 with an unprecedented attack from Gaza by Hamas militants resulting in the death of 1,170 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, Israeli figures show.

Palestinian militants also took around 250 Israeli and foreign hostages, about 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including over 30 that the Israeli army says are dead.

“Today marks six months since the terrorist outrage of 7th October –- the most appalling attack in Israel’s history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War,” Sunak said.

“Six months later, Israeli wounds are still unhealed. Families still mourn and hostages are still held by Hamas.”

Sunak said the children of Gaza needed a “humanitarian pause immediately, leading to a long-term sustainable ceasefire”.

“That is the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in, and to stop the fighting and loss of life.

“For the good of both Israelis and Palestinians — who all deserve to live in peace, dignity and security — that is what we will keep working to achieve,” he added.

The British government on Friday (5) called for “utmost transparency” and a “wholly independent review” into the killing of seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip.

Three of the seven World Central Kitchen staff who died in an Israeli airstrike on Monday (1) evening were British.

The deaths have also heaped pressure on the government to suspend arms export licences to Israel.

According to arms control groups, London has approved more than £487 million of weapons sales to Israel since 2015 in so-called single issue licences.

The government, meanwhile, said a Royal Navy ship would be deployed to help get more aid into Gaza.

Alongside the deployment, Britain also announced a £9.7m package for aid deliveries, logistical expertise and equipment support for a humanitarian corridor in the eastern Mediterranean between Cyprus and Gaza.

Foreign secretary David Cameron said Britain and its allies needed to “explore all options” including sea and air deliveries to “ease the desperate plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people” in the territory.

(AFP)

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