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BRUSSELS: NATO countries on Thursday told Israel’s defence minister they stood by his country after the attack by Hamas, but urged his forces to respond with “proportionality”.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant briefed counterparts from the US-led military alliance via videolink as his country carries out a bombing campaign after Hamas killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

A Western diplomat who attended the discussion said Gallant showed “graphic and shocking footage” of the killings by Hamas to the NATO ministers.

“Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO condemned the terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms, adding: ‘Israel does not stand alone’,” NATO said in a statement.

“Allies expressed solidarity with Israel, making clear that it has the right to defend itself with proportionality against these unjustifiable acts of terror.”

The bloc urged Hamas “to immediately release all hostages, and for the fullest possible protection of civilians.

“Allies also made clear that no nation or organisation should seek to take advantage of the situation or to escalate it.”

The statement added that “a number of NATO allies made clear that they are providing practical support to Israel as it continues to respond to the situation”.

In Gaza, officials have reported more than 1,200 people killed in Israel’s uninterrupted campaign of air and artillery strikes, while the UN said more than 338,000 people have been displaced.

US President Joe Biden – who has strongly backed Israel and started sending military aid – has cautioned that Israel must, despite “all the anger and frustration … operate by the rules of war”.

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps insisted Thursday that Israel was “going after the terrorists” in Gaza.

“They are not by design attacking civilians,” he told journalists at NATO headquarters.

“That’s a very, very important, critical difference that I think the whole world needs to understand.”

Comments

200 characters
Az_Iz Oct 12, 2023 10:11pm
They are blowing up entire blocks of buildings. And you are saying they are not attacking civilians by design.
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TidBit Oct 12, 2023 11:45pm
@Az_Iz, Israel is saying that if Hamas releases hostages, then it will restore electricity and water to Gaza hospitals. Why is Hamas waiting? They want the isreal to show its brutality to the world so the fire rockets from residential buildings Condemn Hamas Love Palestine Hamas is not Palestine
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