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US seeks China's help in preventing Israel-Hamas war from spreading to other countries

Blinken, during his call with Wang Yi, reiterated US support to Israel in the ongoing war against Hamas, which it has designated as a terrorist organisation. On the previous day, the Iranian Foreign Minister had warned of the conflict possibly spreading to other countries if Hezbollah got involved.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: October 15, 2023 12:03 IST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign
Image Source : AP US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday called on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to seek China's help in preventing the ongoing Israel-Hamas war from spreading to other countries and groups. The war has already claimed thousands of lives as chances of an Israeli ground assault are growing.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken called Wang from Saudi Arabia's Riyadh to ask China to use whatever influence it has in the Middle East to prevent the conflict from engulfing other countries and groups. China is known to have close trade and political ties with Iran, which backs Hamas and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group.

Miller declined to comment on Wang's response to Blinken's call but said that the US believes it and China have a shared interest in the stability of the Middle East. This comes as many Middle Eastern countries have called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of lives and a deepening humanitarian crisis.

"As part of the Administration’s intensive diplomatic engagements to stand with Israel and condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas, the Secretary reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself and called for an immediate cessation of Hamas’ attacks and the release of all hostages," read a statement from Miller's office.

The statement further said that both leaders note the importance of maintaining open channels of communication and responsibly managing the US-China relationship. Blinken also discussed the importance of maintaining stability in the Middle East.

Iran's warning to Israel

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who met the Hezbollah group leaders in Beirut, warned Israel that the war will spread to other countries if the Lebanon-based group gets involved in the ongoing war, and the Jewish state will suffer "a huge earthquake".

In an interaction with reporters in Beirut, Amirabdollahian called on Israel to stop its attacks against Gaza, adding that the Hezbollah group has taken all the scenarios of the war into consideration. Hezbollah remains the most serious threat to Israel, with its 150,000 rockets and missiles, including precision-guided missiles.

Hezbollah fighters have been on full alert along Lebanon's borders with Israel following last Saturday's attack by the militant Palestinian group Hamas that left hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers dead. It has praised the Hamas attack, saying that the militants had "divine backing".

Additionally, Amirabdollahian also met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar and agreed to cooperate for "fully achieving" the goals of Hamas and the Palestinian people. Amirabdollahian also called Hamas's murder and kidnapping of civilians and soldiers in southern Israel as "glorious", as per The Jerusalem Post.

What is happening in Israel?

The week-long war has already claimed over 3,600 lives on both sides and sent tensions soaring across the region. The death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza rose to 2,329 people have been killed in the territory, including 724 children and 458 women, the Palestinian health ministry said. On the other hand, over 1,300 people have died in Israel from the Hamas attack since last week.

As the war entered its eighth day, the Israeli military said on Sunday that it is prepared to counter Hamas with "an even greater force", implying a possible ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. It also shared a video of multiple attacks by Hamas against Israel during the first and second intifada, and said that the group "leaves us no choice". It said that the Army has prepared a “coordinated” offensive in Gaza involving air, ground and naval forces.

 

Israel also gave an ultimatum for the 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours, which has sparked a divisive response by some including the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) owing to the dire health situation in Gaza. 

"The IDF is operating to eliminate Hamas in Gaza. Our war is not with the people of Gaza... We are calling on the residents of Gaza to evacuate southwards for their own safety. Not just because it's international law, because it's our values, our morals, and we demand no less," said Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt Col Richard Hecht.

Gaza’s 2.3 million civilians faced a deepening struggle for food, water and safety as of Sunday as Israel ordered a "complete siege" on the territory. Israeli forces have now stationed themselves alongside the border with Gaza ahead of a massive offensive that is likely to be far deadlier than the airstrikes. Israel has warned to "crush" Hamas but an impending ground assault has raised fears about the 120 hostages taken by Hamas.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | Israel-Hamas War: Fourth flight with 274 Indian nationals arrives in Delhi

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