Rishi Sunak has offered UK support to Israel as he condemned the “horrific violence that Hamas unleashed over the weekend”.
It comes as at least 800 people have reportedly been killed in Israel, according to local media — and almost 500 have been killed in Gaza, with thousands wounded, since Israel began carrying out airstrikes in response to Hamas’ surprise attack early Saturday morning.
Palestinian militants claim to be holding over 130 captives.
Speaking at the Future Resilience Forum, a security conference, the prime minister said: “Last night we flew the Israeli flag over Number 10 to show our solidarity with the people of Israel and our utter condemnation of the horrific violence that Hamas unleashed over the weekend.
“On Saturday morning terrorists crossed into Israel intent on murder and kidnap. Whole families were killed. Women, children and the elderly were taken hostage.
“Innocent teenagers at a festival of peace were gunned down in cold blood and the sickening evidence posted online.
“It is inhuman and it will not stand. Terrorism will not prevail. Israel has the absolute right to defend itself and to deter further incursions.
“We are working with the Israeli authorities to support them and we’re doing everything possible to support British citizens who were caught up in the attacks and the families of those who perished.
“I also want to say a word to Jewish communities here at home: I am with you. And we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that you feel safe.”
In the past few days, Rishi Sunak has spoken to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of a conversation in which Sunak offered his “unequivocal” support.
Following the two leaders’ phone call, a No10 spokesman said: “The prime minister spoke to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon, following deadly attacks by Hamas against Israel”
“He reaffirmed that the UK will stand with Israel unequivocally against these acts of terror. The prime minister offered prime minister Netanyahu any support Israel needs.
“The prime minister outlined the diplomatic work the UK is doing to ensure the world speaks with one voice in opposition to these appalling attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the prime minister for the UK’s support.
“The prime minister also stressed his commitment to ensuring the Jewish community in the UK feels safe and secure at this time. The leaders agreed to stay in close contact as the situation develops”.
Visiting the Israeli Embassy in London yesterday, foreign secretary James Cleverly declared the UK’s support for the nation.
Posting on X after the meeting, he said: “We will not stay silent as innocent Israelis are murdered by Hamas.
“Terrorism will not prevail. Earlier today I visited the Israeli Embassy in London to express this government’s support for Israel.”
Labour has also unequivocally condemned Hamas’s attacks, with Keir Starmer saying there can be “no justification” for the operation.
“Labour stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to defend itself, rescue hostages and protect its citizens,” he said in a statement.
“The indiscriminate attacks from Hamas are unjustifiable and have set back the cause of peace.”
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