Powerful earthquake shakes west Afghanistan again

Powerful earthquake shakes west Afghanistan again
Powerful earthquake shakes west Afghanistan again

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said British citizens trapped in Gaza will receive support to leave the region from the government.

Cleverly told Sky News that the situation was “incredibly difficult” but that efforts were being made to open the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

“I’ve spoken on a number of occasions with my Egyptian counterpart,” Cleverly told the “Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips” program. 

“We stay in very close coordination with the United States of America, with other friends in the region and of course with the Israeli government trying to coordinate a time window when the Rafah crossing can be opened so that people can leave. That is proving incredibly difficult, so I’m not able to say with any certainty when that crossing may be open.”

He continued: “This is very important for the British nationals in Gaza. We continue to support them, we continue to update them as much as we can through text messaging and whatever other means is available, so we will keep supporting the British nationals in Gaza and we will keep working with the US, with the Israelis and others to try and bring this crossing into use.”

Cleverly added that it was “not unreasonable” to say that as many as 10 UK nationals are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

He also warned pro-Palestine protesters in Britain not to demonstrate outright support for Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organization in the UK, following a major rally in London on Saturday, during which several attendees appeared to endorse the group. 

“I would remind people that being passionate about a better life for the Palestinian people is a passion that I share and (that is) indeed shared by (the) government,” he said.

“However, glorifying murder and terrorism is no benefit to the Palestinian people, just as Hamas (is) not (a) friend to the Palestinian people.”

The foreign secretary also urged Israel to exercise restraint in its forthcoming operations against Hamas in Gaza.

“I have said it’s in Israel’s interest to avoid civilian casualties and Palestinian casualties because Hamas clearly wants to turn this into a wider Arab-Israeli war or indeed a war between the Muslim world and the wider world, and none of us, including Israel, want that to be the case and so that’s why we do give that strong advice from a position of friendship,” he said.

David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, also appeared on the show, where he defended Israel’s right to defend itself and recover those people abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Lammy said Israel faced a “huge existential crisis,” but added: “We must distinguish between Hamas, a terrorist group, and the Palestinian people. International law must prevail and that means that you have to minimize civilian casualties.”

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