MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Sunday said it was not acceptable for Israel to use the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 as justification for the collective punishment of the Palestinian people and called for international monitoring on the ground in Gaza.
Israeli tanks battled their way to the center of Khan Younis on Sunday in a major new push into the heart of the central city in the southern Gaza Strip.
President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly blamed the war between Israel and Hamas on the failure of years of US diplomacy in the Middle East, while aiming to position Russia as an important player with ties to all the
major actors in the region.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday voiced Israel’s “dissatisfaction” to President Putin over Russia’s vote in favor of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire.
“The prime minister expressed his dissatisfaction with the positions expressed against Israel by Russian representatives at the UN and in other forums” when he spoke with Putin on Sunday, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
“Any country that had been struck with a criminal terrorist assault such as Israel experienced would have reacted with no less force than Israel is using,” he told Putin.
The US vetoed Friday’s Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza war.
Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday Israel helped Cyprus foil an Iranian-ordered attack against Israelis and Jews on the island, claiming that such plots were on the rise since the Gaza
Netanyahu’s office said in the statement on behalf of the Mossad intelligence service that Israel was “troubled” by what it saw as Iranian use of Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus “both for terrorism objectives and as an operational and transit area.”
Earlier on Sunday, a Greek Cypriot newspaper in Cyprus’s government-controlled south reported authorities had detained two Iranians for questioning over suspected planning of attacks on Israeli citizens living in Cyprus.
The two individuals were believed to be in the early stages of gathering intelligence on potential Israeli targets, the Kathimerini Cyprus newspaper said without citing sources. Those individuals had crossed from the north, it said.
Barely a 40-minute flight from Israel, both sides of Cyprus are a popular holiday and investment destination for thousands of Israelis.