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UK Premier Speaks With Israeli, Palestinian Leaders on Urgent Aid for Gaza

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held separate phone calls Tuesday with his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts on the urgent need to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sunak expressed the paramount need to expedite the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian enclave, according to a statement by 10 Downing Street.

“He said the UK would support all efforts to ensure life-saving aid reaches those in need, including temporary humanitarian pauses,” the statement said.

Sunak reiterated “the UK’s resolute backing for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism while emphasizing the importance of taking all possible measures to minimize civilian casualties.”

“He said the UK is focused on securing the safe return of hostages and urgently ensuring British nationals and others can leave Gaza, via the Rafah crossing or other routes,” it added.

The leaders also engaged in discussions concerning the situation in the West Bank and the overarching goal of achieving a two-state solution.

Sunak also spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The leaders discussed the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, and the Prime Minister once again expressed his deep condolences for the tragic loss of civilian life,” the statement said.

“The Prime Minister set out the intensive diplomatic and practical efforts the United Kingdom is making to rapidly increase the delivery of life-saving aid to Gaza, following the announcement that the UK will double aid funding for Palestinian civilians,” it added.

The Israeli army has expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless airstrikes since the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise offensive against Israel on Oct. 7.

The death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip has climbed to 8,525, the Health Ministry in the blockaded enclave said Tuesday.

“The victims include 3,542 children and 2,187 women, while 21,543 other people were injured,” ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told a press conference in Gaza City.

More than 1,538 Israelis have been killed in the conflict.

Netanyahu has rejected growing calls for a cease-fire, saying it would be a “surrender” to Hamas.

Source: AA