Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli strike on Gaza camp 'in strongest terms'
November 1, 2023 10:53 AM
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday roundly condemned a deadly Israeli bombing of Gaza's largest refugee camp that killed dozens of people -- including, Israel says, a Hamas commander.
Israel said it had targeted a Hamas tunnel complex under the densely populated Jabalia camp on Tuesday, killing local battalion commander Ibrahim Biari, who it believes was involved in the militant group's October 7 attacks.
AFP witnessed at least 47 bodies being recovered from the scene.
Saudi Arabia denounced the strike "in the strongest terms possible", decrying the "inhumane targeting" of the refugee camp "by the Israeli occupation forces".
The attack, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said, had "caused the death and injury of a large number of innocent civilians".
The statement is the latest sign the Israel-Hamas war has fractured efforts to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Before the Hamas attacks, the United States had been close to brokering a deal that would have seen Saudi Arabia -- home to Islam's holiest sites -- recognise Israel for the first time.
Supporters of the deal believe it could have transformed the Middle East, after decades in which Israel had very limited diplomatic, commercial and security ties with its neighbours.
In October, a source familiar with that process told AFP that Riyadh had decided to "pause discussion on possible normalisation".
Saudi Arabia had previously warned Israel against any further ground operations in the Gaza Strip.
On October 7 Hamas launched a wave of cross-border raids into Israel killing an estimated 1,400 people, including many Israeli civilians.
Israel's retaliatory strikes have killed more than 8,500 people, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry, stoking anger across the Arab world, including in Saudi Arabia.