Rishi Sunak, British prime minister, has met with the families of those who have been taken hostage in Gaza by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.
After Hamas infiltrated Israel on October 7 from Gaza, some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed. Nearly 200 people were also taken hostage.
Gaza which is controlled by the militant group, is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, but with a short southern border with Egypt.
Israel had cut off essential supplies such as water, medicine and food from Gaza after the attack and vowed to annihilate the Hamas group.
However, after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Jewish nation on Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said Israel would allow humanitarian aid to reach southern Gaza from Egypt but would intervene if any of it reached Hamas.
Netanyahu’s concession came after Biden announced $100 million as humanitarian assistance in Gaza and the West Bank.
Biden said mechanisms were in place to ensure that the aid does not reach “Hamas or terrorist groups”.
The US president’s short visit to Israel was, however, overshadowed by a blast at a Gaza hospital, which local officials say killed 471 people — a figure contested by Israel.
Palestinian authorities said an Israeli air strike was to blame – but Israel countered the allegations, insisting that the blast was caused by a misfired rocket from Gaza.
After arriving in Israel early Thursday morning, Sunak met with families of those who had been taken hostage.
The British prime minister met Israeli President Isaac Herzog and pledged the UK’s support to Israel, condemning the “horrific act of terrorism” the nation had suffered.Advertisement
Sunak is set to meet Netanyahu as his trip progresses and is also expected to use the trip to press for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
Lorries providing aid will begin to reach Gaza from Friday according to the US and Egypt.
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