The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday on the violence in the Middle East, the body said in a statement issued after a deadly assault by Hamas terrorists on Israel that claimed the lives of at least 200 people and injured over 1,400.
The council will convene Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) to discuss “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question,” according to a statement released Saturday.
Brazil, which holds the UN Security Council presidency, announced Saturday that it would call a meeting of the body to address the escalating violence.
“The Brazilian government condemns the series of bombings and ground attacks carried out today in Israel starting from the Gaza Strip,” Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Brazil will convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council and “urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid escalating the situation,” it added.
Brazil “reiterates its commitment to a two-state solution, with Palestine and Israel living together in peace and security, within mutually agreed upon and internationally recognized borders,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Gaza-based terror group Hamas launched an unprecedented assault on Israel in the morning, firing thousands of rockets and sending gunmen into Israeli communities by land, sea and air.
The multi-pronged attack, coming a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion on Yom Kippur, caught the Israeli military and security forces completely by surprise.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Sérgio França Danese, the Brazilian diplomat who holds the Security Council presidency this month, calling on the Security Council to immediately condemn Hamas.
“It is now time for the international community including the Security Council to unequivocally condemn the appalling terror attacks carried out by Hamas and all terrorist organizations against the civilians of Israel,” Erdan wrote.
“Israel expects and demands the solidarity and support of all those in the international community who oppose this barbaric terrorism and the targeting of innocent men, women, and children for slaughter. It will not tolerate moral equivalence between those defending against this terrorism and those perpetrating it. There can be no option other than zero tolerance for Hamas’s war crimes and genocidal agenda.”
Erdan also placed blame on Iran for funding and directing Hamas.
“The State of Israel will act in any way necessary to protect its citizens and sovereignty from the ongoing terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip and carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” he wrote. “We will not stand idly by as Israelis are attacked and killed.”
Argentina and Chile also condemned the attacks, as have several other countries around the world.
“We follow with great concern the terrorist attack against Israel and we stand in solidarity with the victims and their families,” Chilean Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We condemn the use of violence and demand its immediate cessation.”
Hamas gunmen overran at least one military base and gunmen moved through Israeli border communities, killing and capturing residents, apparently with little resistance from Israeli forces, residents said.
Other clips circulated online have purported to show Israeli civilians taken hostage by the terror group. Arabic media claimed 52 Israelis had been captured. Some of those captured appeared to have been killed.
The infiltration of fighters into southern Israel marked a major accomplishment — and escalation — by Hamas that forced millions of Israelis to hunker down in safe rooms, sheltering from rocket explosions and ongoing gun battles with Hamas fighters. Cities and towns emptied as the military closed roads near Gaza.
The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said 198 Palestinians were killed and another 1,610 were wounded as of Saturday afternoon as Israel retaliated with numerous strikes.