Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concerns about the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, warning of the potential for a catastrophic increase. He held talks with Iranian and Arab leaders on Monday, including his Syrian, Egyptian, and Iranian counterparts, as well as Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. Putin also intended to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the ongoing conflict.
The Kremlin released a statement emphasizing that all leaders involved called for an immediate ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian truce to provide urgent assistance to those in need. Putin expressed his readiness to coordinate efforts with constructive partners to bring an end to hostilities and stabilize the situation as quickly as possible.
Pope Francis’ representative in the Holy Land, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, expressed his willingness to exchange himself for Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas and held in Gaza. He made this comment during a video conference with journalists in Italy, stating that he was ready for anything that could lead to freedom and bring the children home.
About 200 people have been taken hostage, with approximately a dozen of them believed to be children.
United States President Joe Biden stated in an interview that it would be a big mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza in response to the recent Hamas attack. However, he also acknowledged that Israel has the right to respond but must avoid the killing of innocent civilians. Biden condemned Hamas for hiding behind civilians and using them as shields.
Egypt accused Israel of not cooperating with the delivery of aid into Gaza and the evacuation of foreign passport holders through the Rafah crossing, which is the only entry point not completely controlled by Israel. As a result, hundreds of tonnes of supplies are currently stuck. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed the urgent need to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians and stated that talks with Israel had not been fruitful.
The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate as Israeli air strikes intensify. Residents are facing water shortages, piling garbage, flattened homes from explosions, and overwhelmed hospitals. Desperate for drinking water, some people have resorted to digging wells near the sea or using salty tap water from Gaza’s contaminated aquifer.
According to Gaza authorities, over 2,750 people, mostly civilians, including more than 700 children, have been killed, with nearly 10,000 wounded. Another 1,000 people are believed to be under the rubble.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed his plans to travel to Israel and Egypt this week in response to the deadly attack by Hamas militants. He expressed the importance of expressing his solidarity with Israel and confirmed a later trip to Egypt.
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