British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak is slated to travel to Egypt on Friday, October 20, 2023.
According to his office, Sunak will have meetings with counterparts in the region to discuss the situation in Israel and Gaza.
In the talks, Sunak will stress “the imperative of avoiding regional escalation and preventing the further unnecessary loss of civilian life,” his office added.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will also meet with Sunak in Egypt Friday afternoon. He will meet with the Egyptian leadership “to discuss ways to stop the escalation.”
Sunak visited Jerusalem on Thursday, October 19, 2023, to show support for Israel and to try to negotiate a way to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas and ease the provision of humanitarian aid to people in Gaza.
Later on Thursday, Sunak met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, where he encouraged the leader to use Saudi’s leadership in the region to support stability, underlining the fear that the Hamas attack and Israel’s response could ignite regional unrest.
Also on Friday morning, The Israel Defence Forces posted an update to X which says, “During the night, fighter jets attacked over a hundred operational targets of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying tunnel shafts, munitions warehouses and dozens of operational headquarters.”
“During the attacks, the IDF and the Shin Bet eliminated a terrorist who was in the naval force of the terrorist organization Hamas, the terrorist took part in the murderous terrorist operations in the Gaza Strip,” the update revealed.
The IDF said that “a terrorist squad associated with the terrorist organization’s air force that planned to launch missiles at an aircraft was foiled”.
Israeli raids were under way in several areas of the occupied West Bank early Friday.
Israel’s defence ministry also announced the evacuation of residents in the border town of Kiryat Shmona near southern Lebanon amid armed clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters at the Israel-Lebanon frontier.
Kiryat Shmona is located about 2km (1 mile) from the border. It has a population of more than 20,000.
According to the ministry, the displaced residents will be moved to state-subsidised guesthouses elsewhere in Israel.
Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging deadly fire over the last two weeks amid Israel’s war on Gaza. Hezbollah has also threatened to step up attacks if Israel pushes through with its plan for a ground invasion of Gaza.
Meanwhile, the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is expected to open for the delivery of limited amounts of aid from Friday.
However, there are increasing doubts that the bombarded crossing will open as planned. Food, medicines, water purifiers and blankets have been piling up near the crossing.
The Rafah border is the only crossing into the blockaded Palestinian territory that is not controlled by Israel.
U.S And European Allies Accused Of Hypocrisy
In other developments, the Human Rights Watch ( HRW) accused the U.S and its allies in Europe of hypocrisy for their failure to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
In a statement, HRW’s Deputy Programme Director, Tom Porteous noted that in the case of Ukraine, the U.S and Europe denounced Russian war crimes.
Fast forward 18 months from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the West is largely silent on war crimes by Israel in Gaza.
“Where are the clear and unequivocal calls for Israel to respect international norms in its attack on Gaza, let alone for accountability,” Porteous asked
“Where is the clear condemnation of the cruel tightening of the 16-year closure of Gaza that amounts to collective punishment, a war crime,” he added.
He noted, “The hypocrisy and double standards of Western states are flagrant and obvious.”