Saudi prince slams Israel 'aggression' ahead of Gaza summits
November 10, 2023 09:01 PM
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler on Friday denounced the conduct of Israeli forces fighting Hamas in Gaza, ahead of weekend summits that will focus on the unfolding violence in the Palestinian territory.
"We condemn the military aggression witnessed in the Gaza Strip, the targeting of civilians, and the continued violations of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupation forces," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a summit with African leaders, his first public comments on the Israel-Hamas war.
"We stress the necessity of stopping this war and forced displacement and creating conditions for the return of stability and achieving peace."
On October 7, Hamas gunmen stormed across the heavily militarised border from the Gaza Strip to kill more than 1,400 people in southern Israel and take around 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with an aerial bombing and ground offensive that the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says has killed more than 11,000 people, nearly half of them children.
The war has derailed progress towards a normalisation deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which Prince Mohammed said in September was drawing "closer" every day.
Riyadh has repeatedly criticised attacks on civilians in statements, though Prince Mohammed had not publicly addressed them before Friday.
His comments at the Saudi-Africa summit came one day before the Gulf kingdom hosts two emergency meetings on the fighting in Gaza -- of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, on Friday also condemned the "obscene violence" afflicting Palestinians.
"We call for a real and practical leap to stop the immediate destruction of Gaza and the killing of thousands of its people in order to give a strong impetus to a political solution by adopting the two-state solution," he said.
Prince Mohammed also told the summit that Saudi Arabia would make $25 billion in investments in Africa by 2030, nearly doubling the amount invested in the last decade, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.