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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

South Africa condemns Israel for ‘worst massacres’ in Gaza

Pretoria is appalled that the IDF reportedly killed over 200 Palestinians in an operation to free four hostages

South Africa has denounced Israel’s military raids in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza, which reportedly killed scores of Palestinians over the weekend. Pretoria has called on the international community to act immediately to put an end to the hostilities.

On Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced its commandos had rescued four hostages from Hamas captivity, including a Russian citizen, Andrey Kozlov, in a daylight attack on Nuseirat in central Gaza.

Read more: Hamas supports UN resolution for Gaza ceasefire

Gaza’s Health Ministry reported on Sunday that at least 274 Palestinians were killed and 698 wounded in the land, sea, and airstrikes that accompanied the IDF’s rescue mission.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also said its teams were working with medical staff at the Al-Aqsa and Nasser hospitals to treat an “overwhelming number of severely injured patients,” following “intense bombings by Israeli forces.”

The majority of the injured are women and children, the charity organization wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Read more: Protesters rally outside Israeli Embassy in Tokyo to demand cease-fire in Gaza

In a statement on Sunday, the South African government said the June 8 attack “on innocent civilians in a designated safe zone” was one of the “single worst massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.”

“We are appalled that these attacks are being praised by some, for saving four Israeli hostages, while killing and severely injuring hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians,” Pretoria stated.

West Jerusalem declared a full-scale war in Gaza after the Palestinian militant group Hamas kidnapped around 250 hostages during its October 7 attack on Israel. Approximately half of the captives were exchanged for Palestinian prisoners during a week-long ceasefire in November, and seven were rescued by Israeli forces. IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters on Saturday that around 120 hostages are still being held by Hamas.

Israeli forces have killed more than 36,800 Palestinians and injured nearly 84,000 in the eight months of large-scale airstrikes and ground offensives, according to the enclave’s authorities.

South Africa, a longtime supporter of Palestinian independence, has filed a case with the UN’s top court, accusing the Israeli government of committing genocide in Gaza.

Several countries, including Spain, Ireland, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Libya, have announced their decision to join the South African case in response to Israel’s refusal to enforce an interim order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prevent any acts that could be deemed genocidal in Gaza.