Egypt, Italy express support for all initiatives to de-escalate Hamas-Israel violence

LONDON: Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Italy and Egypt support all initiatives to de-escalate the conflict between Hamas and Israel on Sunday.

Posting on X, Tajani said he spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry and their countries are “ready to promote humanitarian corridors for the release of prisoners held in Gaza,” especially the most fragile including women, children, and the elderly.

Tajani also condemned the attack on southern Israel by Hamas and the killing of two Israeli tourists and their Egyptian guide in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. 

Hundreds of gunmen entered Israel in the early hours of Saturday morning, killing hundreds of people and abducting and injuring many more.

In retaliation, Israeli air strikes hit housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza, killing more than 370 people, including 20 children, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed “mighty vengeance for this black day.”

Tajani, who is also Italy’s deputy prime minister, said the two sides need to “avoid a new war.”

He urged Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt to help bring about an end to hostilities.

“We condemn the Hamas attack against Israel, which has the right to defend itself,” Tajani said. “This week I will be in Egypt to also discuss how to find a solution.”

He added that so far, Rome knows of no Italian citizens or dual nationals caught up in the fighting.

“The Italian Embassy in Tel Aviv and the consulate in Jerusalem are following the situation of our compatriots: 18,000 with (dual) passports in Israel, around 500 tourists (are) temporarily present in Israel and about 10 in the Gaza Strip,” Tajani said. “At the moment we have no negative news.”

He added that the embassy and consulate are “available to all Italians who are in Israel and the Gaza Strip. We have invited everyone to be extremely cautious and not to move too much because the situation is truly (dangerous).”

Israel’s Ambassador to Italy Alon Bar said: “Israel received a declaration of war from Hamas, with an unprecedented attack of thousands of rockets, launched indiscriminately from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities, and (the country) is also having to deal with the infiltration of armed terrorists, who killed a large number of Israeli citizens.”

He added: “This is a horrible attack, launched against the civilian population in the midst of a Jewish religious holiday … It must be reiterated that the inhabitants of Gaza are not our enemies and that Hamas cynically uses them as human shields to launch missiles.

“On behalf of the State of Israel I thank the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, all the leaders of the Italian government and politics, including the opposition parties, the presidents of the regions and dozens of organizations, for their public support for Israel. Thanks also to the thousands of Italian citizens who move us with messages of solidarity.”

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