Sunak follows Biden to Israel to show support as bombs fall on Gaza

  • The latest developments:
  • Egypt sends equipment to repair roads at the crossing to obtain aid
  • Israeli Colonel: Every place that Hamas touches or touches will be bombed and destroyed

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel pounded the Gaza Strip with more air strikes on Thursday, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak followed U.S. President Joe Biden on visits to show support for the war on Hamas while urging Israel to ease the plight of the besieged enclave. Residents of Gaza.

Biden returned to his country on Wednesday evening after an eight-hour trip and pledged to help the Israeli defense and console survivors of the raid launched by Hamas gunmen on October 7, which invaded southern Israel and killed 1,400 people.

But he appears to have had only limited success in his other mission, which is to persuade Israel to alleviate the plight of 2.3 million Gazans living under a complete siege.

Biden said he had an offer from Egypt to allow 20 aid trucks into Gaza in the coming days, although only a fraction of the 100 trucks per day that UN humanitarian aid coordinator Martin Griffiths told the Security Council was needed.

Two Egyptian security sources said that equipment was sent through the crossing on Thursday to repair roads on the Gaza side for aid to cross. More than 100 trucks are waiting on the Egyptian side, but they are not expected to cross before Friday.

Before leaving, Biden told Israelis in a speech: “While you feel this anger, don’t get caught up in it. After 9/11, we felt anger in the United States. While we sought and obtained justice, we also made mistakes.”

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He later told reporters aboard Air Force One: “Israel has been severely victimized but the truth is that they have an opportunity to alleviate the suffering of people who have nowhere to go… and that is what they should do.”

Israel said it would allow limited aid to reach Gaza from Egypt on the condition that it does not benefit Hamas. But it reiterated its position that it would not open its checkpoints to allow aid in until all the hostages captured by the militants, numbering more than 200 people, were released.

She made clear that there would be no let-up in the bombing campaign: “In the Gaza Strip, every place that Hamas touches or touches will be bombed and destroyed,” said the colonel, who was identified as the commander of the Israeli air base of Ramat David. He told the public broadcaster it was.

“We are truly a war machine that knows how to do two or three times as much as we do now.”

Sunak arrived in Tel Aviv hours after Biden’s departure, carrying similar messages of support and condolence to the Israelis.

“Above all, I am here to express my solidarity with the Israeli people,” Sunak told Israeli reporters after the plane landed. “You have suffered a horrific, unspeakable act of terrorism, and I want you to know that I and the United Kingdom stand with you.” .

“It’s never been this brutal.”

Health officials inside Gaza say the bombing has so far killed nearly 3,500 people and injured more than 12,000 others.

In Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, an area of ​​shops turned into rubble as far as the eye could see, as a small child’s bed flipped to the ground, windows of a clothing store were blown out, and vehicles were damaged.

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Raafat al-Nakhalah, who took refuge there after complying with an Israeli order for civilians to flee Gaza City in the north, said there is no safe place.

“I am more than 70 years old, and I have lived through several wars. It has never been this brutal, and it has never been this brutal. There is no religion and no conscience. Praise be to God. We only have hope in God, and not in any Arab.” Or a Muslim country or any person in the world except God.

Footage obtained by Reuters from the Jabalia refugee camp in the north showed residents digging with their bare hands inside a damaged building to free a young boy and girl trapped under the construction. The body of a man was recovered from the rubble on a stretcher while residents tried to light up the site with torches on their mobile phones.

The United Nations says that about half of Gaza’s population has become homeless, and is still trapped inside the Strip, which is one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

Anger in the Middle East

The plight of civilians in Gaza has angered the Middle East, making it difficult for Biden and other Western leaders to rally Arab allies to prevent the war from spreading.

An explosion in a hospital in Gaza on the eve of Biden’s visit spoiled his plans to meet with Arab leaders, who canceled a summit with him. The Palestinians attributed the explosion to an Israeli air strike, which they said killed about 500 people. Israel said the explosion was caused by a failed rocket launch by Palestinian fighters.

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Angry demonstrations broke out in cities across the region. Biden said that American evidence supports the Israeli account of the hospital explosion.

Instead of meeting in person, Biden spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi by phone from Air Force One on his return flight to Washington.

Egypt has long said that its crossing to Gaza is open from its side, but aid cannot pass due to Israeli bombing on the Gaza side. Cairo also strongly rejected any proposal to open the borders to allow a mass exodus of Gaza residents to flee to safety.

Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that Israel had agreed to allow aid to be delivered to Gaza through Egypt “in principle,” but “we do not want to see Hamas stealing aid intended for the civilian population.” “A real problem.”

Washington has sought, so far unsuccessfully, to open the crossing to allow a small number of Gazans with foreign passports to leave, including a few hundred Palestinian Americans.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Steve Holland on board Air Force One and the Washington and Jerusalem offices). Writing by Peter Graff, editing by Nick Macfie

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.

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