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Russia, EU and UK urge maximum restraint in Gaza fighting

Brussels and London say Israel has right to defend itself but call on it to do everything ‘to prevent a broader conflict’

In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia on Saturday called for maximum restraint in the Gaza Strip amid the worst escalation of violence since a war last year.

“We are observing with profound worry how events are evolving,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement, adding that Moscow was calling “on all the parties involved to show maximum restraint.”

“The new escalation was caused by Israeli army firing into the Gaza Strip on August 5, to which Palestinian groups responded by carrying out massive and indiscriminate bombardments on Israeli territory.”

The European Union issued a similar message.

“The European Union follows with great concern the latest developments in and around Gaza,” a spokesman for EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“The EU calls for maximum restraint on all sides in order to avoid a further escalation and further casualties,” he said.

“While Israel has the right to protect its civilian population, everything must be done to prevent a broader conflict, which would, first and foremost, affect the civilian populations on both sides and result in further casualties and more suffering.”

Britain called for a swift end to the violence too.

“The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted. “We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides.”

“We call for a swift end to the violence.”

Israel hit Gaza with air strikes on Friday and Saturday, saying it launched a pre-emptive operation against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group as it was planning an imminent attack following days of tensions along the Gaza border. The group has retaliated with barrages of rockets against Israeli communities.

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