Turkey's Erdogan: Israel must stop 'massacre' of Palestinians in Gaza
Turkish PM's comments came as Egypt mediates tense ceasefire between Israel, Gaza militants, and as Israel warns its citizens against travel to Turkey over imminent terror threat.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan severely criticized Israel's recent airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, saying in a speech on Tuesday that the attacks represented a "massacre" of the coastal enclave's residents.
Nearly 200 rockets have exploded in Israeli territory since the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza broke out on Friday and until the Israel Defense Forces and Gaza militants agreed to cease fire that went into effect early Tuesday.
Responding to rocket fire, the Israel Air Force carried out 37 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, 19 strikes targeted rocket-launchers and 18 targeted weapons warehouses in response to rocket attacks.
Twenty-six Palestinians were killed as a result of IAF strikes on Gaza. Out of these 22 were militants and 4 were civilians who were in the area of IAF strikes, but were not involved in the rocket fire.
Addressing Israeli strikes against Gaza militants in a speech to Turkish parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan urged Israel to "stop the brutal attack against Palestinians and stop the massacre and bloodshed."
The Turkish PM then referred to the Israeli strikes as "state terror," saying that the Turkish people must "remember that Gazans are our brothers, and will always remain so."
Erdogan also referred to the ongoing crisis in Syria, saying that "the window of opportunity was closing following the massacres taking place daily in the country," adding, however, that Turkey "was making every possible effort to prevent further escalation in Syria."
The Turkish PM's comments came after, earlier Tuesday, Israel's Counter Terrorism Bureau warned Israelis against traveling to Turkey, over information regarding the intent of terror groups to perpetrate an attack against Israeli or Jewish targets in the coming days.
Also on Tuesday, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor released a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, urging the Security Council to condemn rocket attacks by Gaza militants against Israel.
In the missive, the Israeli envoy bemoaned what he called the UN's lack of response to the recent round of violence, saying that the "Security Council has uttered zero words of condemnation of these attacks."
"There is something wrong with this equation," he added, saying it was "time for the Security Council to speak with one voice against the terrorism that continues to flow from Gaza."
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