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World reacts to Hamas attack on Israel

Rockets are fired from Gaza City towards Israel on October 7, 2023. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday.

The following is reaction from around the world.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for "an end to the attacks" in Israel, explaining that "terrorism and war do not lead to a solution."

"I follow with apprehension and pain what is happening in Israel (...) I express my solidarity with the families of the victims," he said in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square. "May the attacks and the weapons cease, I beg you," he said.


U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said: "This is a dangerous precipice, and I appeal to all to pull back from the brink."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk said: "This attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians ... Civilians must never be the target of attack."

Arab League

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged “an immediate halt to military operations in Gaza” and “the cycle of armed confrontation between the two sides”.

“Israel’s continued implementation of violent and extremist policies is a time bomb depriving the region of any serious opportunity for stability in the foreseeable future.”


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization condemned “terrorist attacks by Hamas against NATO partner Israel”, a spokesman for the defense alliance said.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and all those affected. Terrorism is a fundamental threat to free societies, and Israel has the right to defend itself,” said spokesman Dylan White.

European Commission

“I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel… Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted on X.

Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas. This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing.”


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is at “war” and he is confident it “will win”. “Our enemy will pay a price the type of which it has never known,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against the "terror of settlers and occupation troops," the official news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying. He was speaking at an emergency meeting held in Ramallah with a number of top officials from the Palestinian Authority.

Saudi Arabia

The ministry called for an “immediate cessation of violence” between Israel and the Palestinians, the state news agency reported.

“We are following the unprecedented developments between a number of Palestinian factions and Israel occupation forces which has led to a high level of violence on a number of fronts”.


“The Kingdom of Morocco expresses its deep concern at the deterioration of the situation and the outbreak of military action in the Gaza Strip, and condemns attacks against civilians wherever they may be,” a foreign ministry statement said.


"There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel, and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: "Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism."


The Chinese foreign ministry urged relevant parties "to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation".

"The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine," the foreign ministry said.


Egypt warned of “grave consequences” from an escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in a statement from the foreign ministry carried by the state news agency.

It called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri also held a call with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to discuss developments, stating that both sides should exercise restraint to avoid serious risks.


UN Security Council chair Brazil announced it will call an emergency meeting of the body to address the escalating violence and it urged restraint.

“The Brazilian government condemns the series of bombings and ground attacks carried out today in Israel starting from the Gaza Strip,” Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, urging parties to “avoid escalating the situation”.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country stood “in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour”.

“Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel,” Modi said.


Kuwait expressed its “grave concern” over developments between Israel and the Palestinians, blaming Israel for what it called its “blatant attacks”.

The foreign ministry in a statement called on the international community to “stop the provocative practices by the occupation” and the “policy of expanding settlements”.


Qatar’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying Israel alone was responsible for the ongoing escalation of violence with the Palestinian people.

It called on both sides to exercise utmost restraint and calls on the international community to prevent Israel from using these events as an excuse to launch a disproportionate war against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.


Russia is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries in connection with the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bogdanov said, urging restraint.


Zelenskiy condemned what he called a "terror attack" on Israel and said Israel's right to defend itself "cannot be doubted".


The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, an arch foe of Israel, said it was in "direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance" and described events as a "decisive response to Israel's continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel".



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