At least 128 dead as strong quake rocks northwestern Nepal, and officials say toll expected to rise

At least 128 dead as strong quake rocks northwestern Nepal, and officials say toll expected to rise
At least 128 dead as strong quake rocks northwestern Nepal, and officials say toll expected to rise

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DUBLIN: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas “resembles something more approaching revenge.”
The remark during a trip to South Korea came as Israeli troops escalated their assault on Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 attacks.
The bombardment of Gaza since has killed more than 9,000 people, the majority ordinary Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry.
“I strongly believe, like any state, Israel has a right to defend itself, has the right to go after Hamas, so they cannot do this again,” Varadkar said in Seoul. “But what I am seeing unfolding at the moment isn’t just self-defense; it resembles something more approaching revenge, and that’s not where we should be, and I don’t think it is how Israel will guarantee its future freedom and security.”
Ireland’s stance on the conflict has sometimes been at odds with its Western allies, with Varadkar one of the first EU leaders to call on Israel to ensure its response to Hamas’s attack was “proportionate.”
One dual Irish-Israeli citizen was among the victims of the Oct. 7 attack, Israel’s response to which has stoked fears of a wider regional conflict.
Ireland, which has more than 300 soldiers stationed in Lebanon as part of a UN peacekeeping mission, was one of just eight EU member states to vote for a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Most member states abstained.
Varadkar said he believes that “Israel listens to countries it considers to be friends and allies, like the US.”
But he added that he is “not sure they listen very closely to what we have to say, quite frankly.”
“It is a state we have relations with, but I don’t think we are as close as we might have been or perhaps could be because we take a different position than most Western countries on Palestine and what’s happening at the moment,” he said.
Varadkar’s remarks came as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that plans by pro-Palestinian demonstrators to march in central London on Armistice Day are “provocative and disrespectful.”
London’s Metropolitan Police has said pro-Palestinians intend to hold a “significant demonstration” on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the end of World War One, but have no plans to protest on Nov. 12, when formal Remembrance Sunday events are held.
Previous pro-Palestinian demonstrations have passed through the government district of Whitehall, where the Cenotaph war memorial is situated.
“To plan protests on Armistice Day is provocative and disrespectful, and there is a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated, something that would be an affront to the British public and the values we stand for,” Sunak said on messaging platform X.
“The right to remember, in peace and dignity, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for those freedoms must be protected.”
Sunak said he had asked Home Secretay Suella Braverman to support police “in doing everything necessary to protect the sanctity of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.”
The Met has said it would have a “significant policing and security operation” across the Nov. 11-12 weekend and would “use all the powers available to us to ensure anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign or PSC has said it is willing to avoid the Whitehall area, the Met added.
“We have already been in positive dialogue with PSC,” Met Police Commander Karen Findlay said on Friday.
“They have already expressed that they have no intention to disrupt remembrance events.”

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