World Leaders Call on Israel, Gaza Factions to Show Restraint After Day of Violence

Trump's Mideast envoy: U.S. 'stands with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks' ■ UN Middle East envoy says 'working closely with Egypt' to deescalate 'spiral of violence'

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A ball of fire is seen above the building housing the Hamas-run TV station Al-Aqsa TV during an Israeli airstrike, Gaza city, November 12, 2018.
A ball of fire is seen above the building housing the Hamas-run TV station Al-Aqsa TV during an Israeli airstrike, Gaza city, November 12, 2018.Credit: AFP

U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy to the Middle East and other international leaders were quick to condemn the barrage of rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel on Monday.

Jason Greenblatt tweeted that "terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks."

Senior Democratic party Rep. Ted Deutch, a member of the House's Foreign Affairs committee, tweeted that Hamas "once again shows utter disregard for the lives of innocent Israelis - and Palestinians" by responding to "targeted Israeli anti-terror operation by indiscriminately firing 300 rockets at Israeli towns and cities."

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov's office said it was "working closely with Egypt and all those concerned" to deescalate the "spiral of violence."

Israeli security forces and firefighters gather near a bus set ablaze after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, southern Israel, November 12, 2018.Credit: AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all sides to exercise maximum restraint, a U.N. spokesman said.

About 300 rockets were launched from the Hamas-controlled enclave to Israel, a day after an IDF officer and seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza, sparking an exchange of fire and later, a barrage of rocket fire.

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EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret also tweeted in response to the "indiscriminate firing of rockets" toward southern Israel. "Everyone must step back from the brink," he wrote. 

Germany's ambassdor to Israel, Susanne Wasum-Rainer, tweeted that "violence and rockets against civilians" was "unacceptable."

The spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Maja Kocijancic, said that violence on both sides needs "to stop immediately."

The Russian embassy in Israel said it was calling on the Palestinians and Israel "to immediately return to a sustainable cease-fire" and "show restraint." 

Far-right Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz  took to Twitter, where he said such rocket attacks "are certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza's problems," adding that Austria "is fully committed to Israel's security."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, on the other hand, slammed Israel, saying that "we hold Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Gaza."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York issued a statement condemning Hamas. “Since Monday afternoon, Hamas has indiscriminately fired approximately 400 rockets and mortars at Israel in response to a targeted anti-terror raid. This escalation, the largest increase in violence since 2014, is unconscionable, and I condemn Hamas’ actions, which threaten civilians on both sides. I hope that a long-term conflict can be avoided, and a ceasefire will be reached soon,” Lowey said.

Egypt told Israel on Monday it needed to stop an escalation of violence in the Gaza strip, state TV quoted sources as saying.

The sources said Egypt told Israel of the need to commit to the de-escalation process, and also stepped up efforts with the Palestinians in that regard. 

The Israel Defense Forces said the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 60 rockets out of 300. While most of the rockets fell in open areas, some hit buildings, causing damages and injuries.

The army said it had struck more than 70 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror targets in response to the series of rocket launches, including three attack tunnels and the studios of the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV station.

Earlier Monday, an anti-tank missile launched from Gaza hit a bus in southern Israel, severely wounding a 19-year-old soldier.

Reuters contributed to this report

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