British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has landed in Israel.
He is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, before travelling on to other regional capitals.
According to a statement from Sunak’s office, he will offer his condolences to Netanyahu and Herzog, and show his solidarity with Israel after the October 7 deadly Hamas attack.
“Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’s horrific act of terror,” Sunak said.
His trip follows a visit to Israel on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, by U.S President Joe Biden.
In an earlier statement, Sunak also said that the explosion at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza “should be a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict” between Israel and Hamas.
Sunak is also expected to insist that humanitarian aid, which London recently announced would be increased for the Palestinians, be allowed to arrive at a time when Israel has authorised the entry of aid into Gaza from Egypt, and that Britons stranded in Gaza be allowed to leave.
The Downing Street disclosed that alongside the British Prime Minister’s trip, his Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly is due to visit Egypt, Turkey and Qatar “in the coming days.”
Sunak believes Egypt, Qatar and Turkey can help mediate and bring about de-escalation of the situation.
Meanwhile, Israel airstrikes on Gaza have not ceased as it pounded the enclave with attacks overninght.
In an update to posted on X, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Thursday morning that it “continues to attack all the time throughout the Gaza Strip.”
“During the last day, the IDF, directed by the Shin Bet, destroyed hundreds of Hamas terrorist infrastructures, dozens of which were attacked in the Sageya neighborhood,” the IDF said.
The hundreds of terrorist infrastructures that were attacked include anti-tank missile launch sites, tunnel shafts, intelligence infrastructures, operational headquarters and other headquarters,” the IDF added.
It claimed to have killed ““the head of the military wing of the terrorist organisation People’s Resistance Committees in Rafah, Rafat Harev Hossein Abu Halal” as well as “a number of operatives belonging to the Najaba force of Hamas.”
According to witnesses and medical sources, more than 40 Palestinians have been killed.
In Khan Younis, 11 residential buildings were destroyed, resulting in casualties.
Nine people, including seven children, were killed when jets struck a house in Khan Younis, south of Gaza City, Wafa news agency reported.
More than 30 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in Israeli airstrikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said. Israeli warplanes also struck a house in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood in Rafah amid reports of fatalities.
A Palestinian baby was killed and several people were injured in an airstrike in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, according to witnesses.
A child was also killed in an Israeli air raid west of Khan Younis, Palestinian medical sources said.
Russia To Send Aid To Gaza
In other developments, Russia’s foreign ministry announced that the country will deliver 27 tonnes of humanitarian aid, mostly food supplies, for the people in the Gaza Strip.
An aircraft carrying the goods is on its way to El Arish, an Egyptian city in northern Sinai about 50km (31 miles) from the Egypt-Gaza Rafah crossing.
The move comes after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed to reopen his country’s sealed border crossing with Gaza and allow up to 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies to cross.
Biden said el-Sisi agreed to open the crossing and to let in an initial group of 20 trucks with humanitarian aid. If Hamas confiscates aid, “it will end”, he said.
He added that the 20 trucks represented a “first tranche”, but “150 or something” trucks are waiting in total. Whether the rest are allowed to cross will depend on “how it goes”.
Discussing aid delivery on his way back to the US from Israel, Biden said roads near the crossing would first need hours of repairs, but that aid could start moving by Friday, October 20, 2023.