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UN chief’s remarks about Hamas attack on Israel ‘wrong’, UK minister says | Politics News

Remarks made by the United Nations secretary-general about Hamas’s terror attacks in Israel have been labelled as “wrong” by a British minister.

Speaking at a UN meeting in New York on Tuesday, Antonio Guterres had said it was important to recognise that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum” – with Palestinians having been “subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation”.

He also claimed there had been “clear violations of international humanitarian law” committed by Israel in the aftermath, with continued airstrikes over the Gaza Strip and a decision by Tel Aviv to cut off power and water to the area.

Israel warns Lebanon and Syria of ‘damning strikes’ – live updates

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Israel demands UN chief resigns

The comments drew anger from Israel, with the country’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan saying it amounted to “a justification for terrorism and murder” – and demanding Mr Guterres resigned.

British immigration minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News that the government doesn’t believe Israel has broken international law in its retaliation for Hamas’s attacks on 7 October, adding: “There is a clear right in international law for a nation to defend itself, and that is what Israel is doing.”

But his position grew stronger over the course of his morning interviews, with Mr Jenrick later telling ITV: “No one, whether deliberately or otherwise, should be implying there is any justification for [Hamas’s attacks].

“In that sense, I think he was wrong. I hope that isn’t what he meant but, if it is, then he should retract that.”

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UK ‘not asking for ceasefire’

Mr Jenrick said it was “not for me to say” whether the UN chief should step down over the comments.

But he added: “I do think it is important we are all very clear that there is no justification for what happened, there is no context that is relevant.

“What happened was an appalling act of evil terrorism and everyone should call that out.”

The Gaza health ministry, run by Hamas, said that at least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October – with at least 704 on Tuesday alone.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, officials there have said.

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