Deeply shocked, says India on 100 deaths in Gaza firing by Israeli troops | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Deeply shocked, says India on 100 deaths in Gaza firing by Israeli troops

Mar 01, 2024 07:44 PM IST

India expresses deep shock at the killing of over 100 people in Gaza by Israeli troops, calling for safe humanitarian aid delivery and immediate cessation of hostilities.

NEW DELHI: India on Friday expressed deep shock at the killing of more than 100 people in firing by Israeli troops on a crowd that gathered near aid trucks in Gaza, describing the loss of civilian lives as a cause for “extreme concern”.

An Israeli soldier sits on a military vehicle after returning from the Gaza strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in southern Israel (REUTERS)
An Israeli soldier sits on a military vehicle after returning from the Gaza strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in southern Israel (REUTERS)

The external affairs ministry reiterated India’s call for the safe delivery of humanitarian aid as international leaders and aid groups said the latest killings reinforced the need for an immediate halt to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

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“We are deeply shocked at the loss of lives in Northern Gaza [on Thursday] during delivery of humanitarian assistance,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“Such loss of civilian lives and the larger humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be a cause for extreme concern,” the statement added.

Gaza’s health ministry said in a statement that Israeli troops killed more than 100 people and injured 700 more in a “massacre” as they waited for food from the convoy of aid trucks

Reports said the Palestinians were targeted by Israeli tanks and snipers. The Israeli military claimed soldiers fired warning shots in the air before firing at the crowd “only in face of danger”.

The external affairs ministry emphasised the need for “safe and timely delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance” in the statement that made no direct reference to Israel

Israeli troops have been bombarding Gaza since the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledging to continue the offensive till Hamas is rooted out of the enclave, one of the world’s most densely populated regions.

Hamas killed around 1,200 people in Israel during the terror attacks and kidnapped around 250, some of whom were released during a brief ceasefire last year. However, the latest bloodshed by Israeli troops has taken the death toll in Gaza above 30,000, according to Hamas-run authorities. The increasing civilian casualties have led to calls from India and other countries for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Earlier this week, external affairs minister S Jaishankar called on the world community to ensure the conflict in Gaza doesn’t spread “within or beyond the region” and to seek a two-state solution where Palestinian people can live within secure borders.

India describes West Asia as part of the country’s “extended neighbourhood” and the region is home to some nine million Indians, with most of them concentrated in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While making a statement virtually at the session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Jaishankar said the situation in Gaza is of “great concern”. He reiterated India’s position that while any form of terrorism is unacceptable, a sustainable solution must also be found to the humanitarian crisis.

“The conflict in Gaza is of great concern to us all. The humanitarian crises arising from conflicts require a sustainable solution that gives immediate relief to those most affected. At the same time, we must be clear that terrorism and hostage-taking are unacceptable,” he said.

Jaishankar added: “It also goes without saying that international humanitarian law must always be respected. It is vital that the conflict does not spread within or beyond the region. And efforts must also focus on seeking a two-state solution where Palestinian people can live within secure borders.”

After initially expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the October 7 terror attacks, India has moved to nuance its position as civilian casualties have mounted because of the bombardment of Gaza. The Indian side has said it has a “zero tolerance” policy for terrorism but also called for a return to diplomacy to find a two-state solution.

This was largely due to concerns conveyed to India by its partners in the Arab world, who were uncomfortable with the position taken by New Delhi in the early days of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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