New Delhi: The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has drawn international attention and reactions. US President Joe Biden has expressed his support for Israel’s right to defend itself while announcing new sanctions on Iran for its missile and drone programs. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is visiting Israel and other regional capitals to discuss the situation and offer humanitarian aid.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US was imposing new sanctions on Iran to counter its ballistic missile and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs, which he said threatened regional stability and security. He said the sanctions targeted two Iranian entities and two individuals involved in the development and proliferation of these weapons.
The US move came as the UN Security Council’s ban on Iran’s missile and drone activities, imposed in 2015 as part of the nuclear deal, was set to expire in October. The US had already withdrawn from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, while Iran had resumed its nuclear enrichment activities in violation of the agreement. The European countries that remained in the deal, namely Britain, France, and Germany, had urged Iran to comply with the restrictions and called for their extension last month.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel on Thursday for a visit that will also take him to Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. He is expected to meet with Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog in Israel, as well as other leaders in the region, to discuss the Gaza crisis and other issues of mutual interest. He will also announce £12 million ($16 million) in humanitarian aid for Gaza and £3 million ($4 million) for peacebuilding initiatives.
The UK has been one of the countries that have called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which have been engaged in a fierce exchange of fire since May 10. According to health officials, the conflict has killed at least 230 Palestinians in Gaza, including 65 children, and 12 people in Israel, including two children. The UN has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, where more than 72,000 people have been displaced and many lack access to water, electricity, and medical care.