Al-Jazeera / October 7, 2023
Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years, killing more than 20 people. Here are the reactions.
The Palestinian group Hamas has launched the biggest attack on Israel in years, killing more than 20 people in a surprise assault that included gunmen entering Israeli towns after a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Israel said the Iran-backed group had declared war as its army confirmed it was behind the fighting on Saturday near Gaza and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to retaliate.
Here are reactions to the fighting so far:
“Belgium strongly condemns the massive rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Violence and terror only perpetuates suffering and hinders the path to dialogue. Our thoughts are with all those affected. We are monitoring the situation closely,” Foreign Affairs minister Hadja Lahbib wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel… Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted on X.
Egypt warned of “grave consequences” from an escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in a statement from the foreign ministry carried by the state news agency.
It called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri also held a call with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to discuss developments, stating that both sides should exercise restraint to avoid serious risks.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the “terrorist attacks” against Israel.
“I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks which are currently hitting Israel. I express my full solidarity with the victims, and their families and those close to them,” Macron wrote on X.
The French embassy in Israel on Saturday described the attacks as “inadmissible terrorist attacks”.
“Horrified by the developments coming from the south of the country. These terrorist attacks are inadmissible and must be condemned by everyone. We stand side by side alongside Israel and Israelis,” the French embassy wrote on X.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin “firmly condemns the terrorist attacks from Gaza against Israel”.
Baerbock said Hamas “contributes to the intensification of violence”, adding that “violence and rockets aimed at innocent people must stop immediately”.
“Greece strongly condemns today’s launch of heavy rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel. Greece stands with Israel and is deeply concerned by this unacceptable escalation of violence,” the Greek Foreign Ministry posted on X.
An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said that Iran supported the Palestinians’ attack, the semi-official ISNA news site reported.
“We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” it quoted adviser Rahim Safavi as saying. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Italy said it backed “Israel’s right to defend itself” against the “brutal attack” by Hamas.
The government said it “condemned in the strongest terms the terror and the violence under way against innocent civilians”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is at “war” and that he is confident they “will win”.
“Our enemy will pay a price the type of which it has never known,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
The Lebanese armed group Hezbollah issued a statement saying it was closely following the situation in Gaza and was in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance”.
Following events involving Gaza fighters who fired a barrage of rockets into Israel, the statement added that it was a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel”.
Palestinian President Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against the “terror of settlers and occupation troops”, the official news agency WAFA quoted him as saying.
He was speaking at an emergency meeting held in Ramallah with a number of top officials from the Palestinian Authority.
“I strongly condemn Hamas’ ongoing attacks on Israel. This baseless aggression and acts of violence, especially against civilians, are unacceptable. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these terrible events,” Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau wrote on X.
Russia said it is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries in connection with the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
“It goes without saying that we always call for restraint,” he added.
Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on X that he condemned the attacks from Gaza against Israel.
“We strongly condemn the very serious terrorist attacks from Gaza against Israel. “Overwhelmed by this indiscriminate violence. All our solidarity (is) with the victims.”
The Czech Republic
“The attack conducted from the Gaza Strip is a deplorable act of terrorism against the State of Israel and the civilian population,” President Petr Pavel said in a statement
“The rocket attacks and the infiltration of Hamas commandos into Israel will block any efforts for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for a long time.”
Netanyahu postponed a trip to the Czech Republic, following the hostilities, a statement from the Czech presidential office said.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Israelis and Palestinians to act with restraint and refrain from hostile acts that could exacerbate the situation.
“We call for restraint from all parties,” Erdogan said at a congress for his ruling AK Party in Ankara. “They must refrain from aggressive acts,” he said.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry condemned what it described as “ongoing terrorist attacks” on Israel.
“Ukraine strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” the ministry said on X.
“We express our support for Israel in its right to defend itself and its people.”
The UK also criticized the attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
“The UK unequivocally condemns the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. The UK will always support Israel’s right to defend itself,” Cleverly said in a post on social media.
SOURCE: AL-JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES