Estonian president, foreign minister condemn attacks against Israel

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Smoke rising in Gaza after a wave of Israeli counterstrikes.
Smoke rising in Gaza after a wave of Israeli counterstrikes. Source: SCANPIX/REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) and President Alar Karis condemned attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas against Isreal on Saturday. Both said the country had the right to retaliate.

"I completely condemn the attacks launched by the terrorist organization Hamas against Israel today, which further escalates the situation in the region," the minister said in a statement.

"For the safety and welfare of the people in the region, I am urging the aggressor to end its hostilities.

"I am extending my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the attacks.

"Estonia stands in solidarity with Israel, who has a full right to defend itself and its people. We are closely following the developments in Israel."

President Alar Karis called the attacks "unacceptable".

"No one should wake up under the rocket attack! We strongly condemn these massive attacks from #Gaza that hit #Israel. Kidnapped people must be released. Our thoughts are with all who suffer. [Isreal] has a right to defend itself," he said in a statement published on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Riigkogu's Estonia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group echoed the comments of the president and foreign minister and added: "We are convinced that Israel will win the war that broke out as a result of an unjustified and criminal attack against its cities and civilian population.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Israel and we express our respect for the defenders of Israel."

On Saturday morning, dozens of armed Palestinian gunmen crossed the heavily fortified border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, while thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, the BBC reported. At least 250 people were killed, Israel reported. 

Israel responded with a wave of air strikes on targets in Gaza killing 230 people, Palestinian officials say.

Around 900 Estonian citizens are permanent residents in Israel and 11 have contacted the ministry for assistance so far.

People in need of emergency assistance in Israel are advised to call +372 5301 9999.

MP: Hamas attack linked to Russian, Iranian interests.

Marko Mihkelson. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) said events could be connected to Russia and Iran and will draw attention away from Ukraine.

"The timing and reasons for the Hamas attack are linked to Russian and Iranian interests. Hamas is known to be strongly supported by both countries. Hamas leaders have twice held consultations in Moscow in the last 12 months and it is quite obvious that Russia has a wider interest in both distracting attention from Ukraine and, on the other hand, complicating Israel's rapprochement with Saudi Arabia by creating tension in the region," he told ERR.

"Hostilities will continue in the active phase for a longer period. Hamas terrorists have taken Israeli soldiers hostage, and Israel has also launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip. The conflict could last from hours to days or weeks," he added.

Mihkelson said Russia has a long history of using Palestinian terrorists and Palestinians to destabilize regional and international security.

"In the broader international context, this unprecedented event will only contribute to the disintegration of the existing international order," the MP said.

This article was updated with comments from Marko Mihkelson.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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