British PM Rishi Sunak backs Israel ‘in its darkest hour’, but calls for easing of civilians’ plight

New Delhi, October 19

Israel hit Gaza with more airstrikes even as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak became the third western leader to visit Tel Aviv after US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to signal his support for Israeli military’s assault while calling for easing the plight of civilians trapped in the fighting.

Israel made clear its bombings will not abate. “In the Gaza Strip, every place where Hamas has touched or is touching will be struck and destroyed. We really are a war machine that knows how to do two or three times what is being done now,” said an Israeli military officer.

Meanwhile, the Iranian military chief Mohammad Baqeri in a phone call to Qatari Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah urged regional countries to stop the US from transferring arms and equipment to Israel from its bases in the Middle East, reported IRNA. Sunak borrowed a phrase associated with Winston Churchill to promise backing to “in its darkest hour” and maintained he was aware that Israel was “taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians in direct contrast to the terrorists of Hamas, which seeks to put civilians in harm’s way”.

Biden flew directly back to the US from Israel after being forced to cancel the second leg of his visit to Jordan as a quartet of Arab leaders refused to meet him due to the bombing of the hospital in Gaza. Biden’s visit helped in Egypt agreeing to allow 20 aid trucks to reach Gaza in the coming days. This, however, is much less than 100 trucks required per day, as per UN estimates.

Israel’s Arab neighbours, on the other hand, turned down Israel’s game plan to drive out all of Gaza’s 22 lakh residents to enable the Israeli security forces to hunt down Hamas militants as well as dismantle its infrastructure of bunkers and bomb-proof tunnels

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