EU top diplomat asks Israel 'not to be consumed by rage'
November 16, 2023 07:15 PM
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday called for Gaza hostages to be immediately freed, but asked Israel "not to be consumed by rage" in its battle with Hamas militants in the Palestinian territory.
"I ask for their immediate and unconditional release," Borrell said on a visit to a kibbutz community targeted by Hamas in the October 7 attacks. "I understand your fears and pain... I understand your rage. But let me ask you not to be consumed by rage."
Israeli officials say about 1,200 people were killed -- mostly civilians -- and around 240 hostages taken when Hamas gunmen surged across the border, in the worst attack on the nation since its 1948 founding.
In response, Israel has bombarded targets in Gaza and sent in ground troops against Hamas, killing more than 11,500 people -- also mostly civilians -- according to the Hamas government there.
Speaking at Kibbutz Beeri, whose leaders reported around 85 people killed and around 30 taken prisoner by Hamas, Borrell said "Israel has to be defended".
But, he added "one horror doesn't justify another: innocent civilians, including thousands of children, have died in the past few weeks."