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Turkey urges Israel to 'immediately stop' Gaza strikes

People stand amid the rubble after airstrikes hit Gaza [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 November, 2018

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Positioning itself as the Palestinians' key regional ally, Turkey called on Israel to stop its attacks 'against the Gaza population'.
Turkey on Tuesday ordered Israel to "immediately stop" strikes against the Gaza Strip, urging the international community to act as one as an escalation in violence threatens to descend into full-blown conflict.

"Israel must immediately stop its attacks against the Gaza population," Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, quoted by state news agency Anadolu.

"The international community, which stays silent in the face of Israel's attacks, must take responsibility and take action," he added.

Barrages of rocket and mortar fire into Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza this week left many fearing the break-out of a new war between the two sides.

Six Palestinians were killed in less than 24 hours as Israeli strikes targeted militants, while dozens of residents were injured in Israel following rockets and mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian living in southern Israel was also killed.

The escalation, triggered by a secret operation by Israeli special forces which went awry on Sunday, came after months of tension with growing fears of a fourth conflict in 10 years between Israel and Hamas that governs the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Israel were said to be close to reaching a ceasefire deal when renewed fighting broke out on Sunday. Brokered by Egypt and funded by Qatar, Palestinian factions may reconcile and quieten border protests, in exchange for Israel relaxing the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Positioning itself as the stalwart supporter of the Palestinians, Ankara often criticises Israeli policy, although relations improved between Turkey and Israel in 2016 after a diplomatic crisis that lasted several years.

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