The European Union demands ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian war

Russia, the United States and Nigeria, among other nations, have called for ceasefire and dialogue between Israel and Palestine over the renewed outbreak of hostilities between both countries, which began on Saturday.

The health ministry in Gaza revealed on Saturday that at least 250 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air attacks launched after a Hamas offensive against Israel killed at least 200.

Six others (two in Ramallah, one in Jericho, one in Qalqilia, and two in Hebron),  according to Aljazeera, have also been killed, with more than 50 injured in the West Bank.

This brings the number to 450 as of the time of filing this report.

A tally by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society noted that another 126 Palestinians had been injured.

Thirty-three were hit with live ammunition, 10 injured by rubber-coated bullets, 69 treated for teargas inhalation, five injured by shrapnel, eight were physically assaulted and one was stabbed by an Israeli settler.

The growing casualty toll on Saturday came after the Palestinian group running the Gaza Strip launched the largest attack on Israel in the year, Aljazeera reports, infiltrating areas in the south of the country following a barrage of thousands of rockets fired from the besieged territory.

Israel’s national rescue service on its part said at least 200 people were killed and hundreds wounded, making it the deadliest attack in Israel in years.

An unknown number of Israeli soldiers and civilians had also been seized and taken into Gaza.

Earlier on, Israel’s Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, warned Hamas, saying that it made a “grave mistake” in launching the attack, which began at 6.30am local time (03.30 GMT) and involved barrages of rockets fired from multiple locations in Gaza as well as fighters infiltrating Israel by land, sea and air.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message from military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s military launched a series of air raids on Gaza in response to the attack. “Dozens of [Israeli military] fighter jets are currently striking a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Israel’s military said the commander of the Nahal Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Yonathan Steinberg, was killed by Hamas fighters in southern Israel.

The brigade is the main infantry branch of the Israeli military.

The military said on X that Steinberg was fatally shot near Kerem Shalom as he was responding to a gunfight between his brigade and Hamas fighters.

A member of the Israeli Knesset, Danny Danon, on Saturday, said it would “not be easy” for the people of Gaza tonight.

“I can tell you tonight that the people of Gaza will have to take into consideration that they will have to pay a price and we will advise them to take steps to avoid any casualties,” the former UN ambassador told Al Jazeera from Tel Aviv.

“We will be efficient, and we will do whatever it takes to hunt them [Hamas] down,” he stated.

In an attempt to broker peace, the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, on Saturday, in a statement called on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to implement an immediate ceasefire.

“We call on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to implement an immediate ceasefire, renounce violence, exercise the necessary restraint and establish, with the assistance of the international community, a negotiation process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long-awaited peace in the Middle East,” Zakharova noted.

Also, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said, “This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing. The EU expresses its solidarity with Israel in these difficult moments.”

Culled from the Punch