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World Leaders React to Hamas Attack on Israel

Smoke plumes rise over Gaza City on Oct. 7, 2023, during Israeli air strikes following a major attack on Israel by Hamas.
Smoke plumes rise over Gaza City on Oct. 7, 2023, during Israeli air strikes following a major attack on Israel by Hamas.

World leaders reacted to the unprecedented, multifront attack on Israel by the militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Ukraine's president calls for unity against terror

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Israel’s right to self-defense cannot be questioned” and extended his condolences to “all whose family and friends lost their lives in [the] terrorist attack.”

“We believe that order will be restored, and the terrorists will be destroyed,” he said in a post on his official Telegram channel. Zelenskyy is Jewish and had relatives who died in the Holocaust.

“The world must be united and [stand] in solidarity, so that terror cannot ever try to conquer or destroy lives anywhere in the world,” he said.

White House condemns attack

The White House said Saturday that it “unequivocally condemns” the Hamas attacks.

“We stand firmly with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks," said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“The U.S. unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians,” she said. “There is never any justification for terrorism.”

Watson said Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has spoken with his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi. The United States and Israel are remaining in close touch, she said.

Iranian lawmakers chant ‘Death to Israel’

Iran’s Parliament members opened their session Saturday by chanting “Death to Israel” and “Israel will be doomed, Palestine will be the conqueror.”

State TV showed dozens of parliament members gathered in the center of the parliament chamber.

Iranian TV aired footage of missiles being launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel and interviewed analysts who supported the Hamas attack.

Saudi Arabia calls for restraint

Saudi Arabia called for an immediate halt to fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

A statement Saturday by the Saudi Foreign Ministry also called for both sides to protect civilians and exercise restraint.

“The kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the situation exploding as a result of the continued occupation, the Palestinian people being deprived of their legitimate rights and the repetition of system provocations against” them by Israel, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia long has backed the Palestinians and called for the implementation of a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

The U.S. has been trying to negotiate a wide-ranging deal to get Saudi Arabia to agree to diplomatically recognize Israel, which could include the kingdom getting more U.S. security guarantees and expansive aid to its nuclear program.

Russia urges a cease-fire

Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister and former ambassador to Israel and Egypt, told the state Tass agency Saturday that Moscow has been in touch with “all parties [of the conflict], including Arab countries” and urged “an immediate cease-fire and peace” between Hamas and Israel. Bogdanov did not specify which Arab states Russian diplomats were speaking to.

“We call for an immediate start to a peace process on the basis of existing, internationally recognized agreements,” Bogdanov said. He added that a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the conflict remain unimplemented but gave no details.

UN human rights chief calls for end to violence

The U.N. human rights chief said he is “shocked and appalled” by the attack.

Volker Turk called for an immediate end to the violence, appealing to all sides and “key countries in the region” to de-escalate and avoid further bloodshed.

Turk said in a statement released in Geneva that he is also “deeply concerned at reports that Israeli civilians have been taken hostage.”

“This attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians,” Turk said, and civilians must never be the target of attacks.

He said: “I note also that Israeli forces have responded with airstrikes into the densely populated Gaza Strip, reportedly killing at least five people. I call on them to take all precautions to avoid civilian casualties there.”

Europe's leaders express support for Israel

European leaders condemned the Hamas attack and voiced solidarity with Israel.

The head of the European Union’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday that the attack “is terrorism in its most despicable form.” She said that “Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks.”

German Chancellor OIaf Scholz said that the militants’ rocket fire and the escalating violence “shock us deeply.” He said that “Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands beside Israel.”

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that he “firmly” condemns the “terrorist attacks” against Israel and expressed “my full solidarity with the victims, their families and their loved ones.”

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Italy’s government condemns the attacks on Israel “with utmost firmness.”

“At risk are the life of people, the security of the region and the resumption of any kind of political process,’’ Tajani said in a post on the X platform.

Hezbollah says attack is the only response to occupation

Lebanon’s Hezbollah congratulated Hamas for the operation, saying it had “divine backing and pledges final and comprehensive victory.” The group said that the attack was a response to “Israel’s crimes” and attacks on holy places and that “the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of the resistance is the only alternative to face occupation.”

Hezbollah said that its military command in Lebanon is following the developments on the ground and is in direct contact with the Palestinian command and they are both “evaluating the situation and the ongoing operation.”

“We call upon the government of the Zionist enemy to take lessons from the facts that the Palestinian resistance have implemented on the ground,” Hezbollah said.

Ukraine says Israel has the right to defend itself

Ukraine’s foreign ministry has voiced its support for Israel’s “right to defend itself and its people” in a post Saturday on its official channel on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.

The ministry said it “strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.”

Ukraine has been fighting a war against Russia since its neighbor invaded in February 2022.