UK to seek ‘sustained humanitarian pauses’ in Gaza after fighting resumes

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UK to seek ‘sustained humanitarian pauses’ in Gaza after fighting resumes

Israel restarted combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce expired on Friday after Hamas fired rockets into Israel, breaking the ceasefire.

Smoke rises from an explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke rises from an explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Rishi Sunak said he will issue renewed calls for “sustained humanitarian pauses” in Gaza after fighting resumed.

The Prime Minister is due to discuss the conflict in meetings with regional leaders on the sidelines of the Cop28 climate talks in Dubai.

Israel restarted combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce expired on Friday, blaming Hamas for breaking the ceasefire.

Speaking to broadcasters in Dubai, Mr Sunak said: “Obviously this is news that has just broken in the past few minutes so I need to get into the details of it. It wouldn’t be right to speculate so early.

“But I am having meetings with leaders from around the region in a matter of hours to discuss the situation.

“We’ve been consistent that we want to see sustained humanitarian pauses so that more aid can get in to the people of Gaza but also the hostages can come out. Those are critical ingredients. And, as we’ve said, everyone needs to adhere to the terms of these agreements.”

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho told broadcasters on the morning media round: “I think it’s first important to say that I think the truce was actually broken by Hamas.”

She told Sky News: “Of course it’s disappointing that fighting has resumed… but at the same time Israel has to defend itself.”

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron is attending Cop28 alongside the PM and Ms Coutinho, and will also talk to counterparts at the event about the issue.

The Israeli military said on Friday that its fighter jets have begun striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, 30 minutes after an extended ceasefire expired at 7am (0500 GMT).

During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel.

Mediators Qatar and Egypt had sought to prolong the break in fighting by another two days.

Weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign have left more than three-quarters of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million uprooted, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed — roughly two-thirds of them women and children — according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

Some 1,200 Israelis have been killed, mostly during Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack that triggered the war.
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