German FM expresses 'solidarity' with Israel, calls for ceasefire

AFP
Tel Aviv, Israel Published: May 20, 2021, 02:46 PM(IST)

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Militants in the blockaded Gaza Strip have fired more than 4,000 rockets towards Israel, said the Israeli military, which has responded with devastating air strikes

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his support for Israel as he visited Thursday, and called for a ceasefire between the Jewish state and the Gaza Strip's Islamist rulers Hamas.

"I came here to express my solidarity... Israel has the right to defend itself against this massive and unacceptable attack," he said at joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in Tel Aviv.

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Maas visited after 10 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Militants in the blockaded Gaza Strip have fired more than 4,000 rockets towards Israel, said the Israeli military, which has responded with devastating air strikes.

"Let me say it again very clearly: For us the security of Israel and the security of all Jews in Germany are non-negotiable and Israel can always rely on that," said Maas.

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The German foreign minister said he had been in "nearly constant contact" with Ashkenazi during the past week, as well as diplomats in Cairo, Doha, Amman and Washington.

"I hope that the efforts to reach a ceasefire will also be successful," he said.

Maas is scheduled to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah. He has no plans to meet with Hamas, which the European Union considers a terrorist organisation.

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