Leaders of Arab and Muslim nations reacted to the deadly Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday, advising caution, criticising Israel, and asking for a ceasefire.
The early morning Hamas offensive by air, land, and sea was met by Israeli air strikes on the blockaded coastal enclave, in the bloodiest escalation since May 2021.
Here is a roundup of reactions from the region:
The foreign ministry appealed to “both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to exercise the utmost restraint”, warning of the “dire danger of ongoing escalation”.
Cairo has historically been a key mediator in conflicts between the two sides.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made a series of calls to regional and international leaders, including his Jordanian, UAE, Turkish, German, and French counterparts, and to European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.
A foreign ministry statement said Shoukry sought to rally “international actors” to “intervene immediately”.
“The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, protection of civilians, and self-control,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Riyadh echoed statements by other regional states — including Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, and Oman — that Saturday’s attack was “a result of the continued occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights”.
The violence comes amid growing speculation about the impending normalisation of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh and Washington held talks on certain Saudi conditions, according to people briefed on the meetings.
The foreign ministry called the Hamas operation an “honourable achievement that proves the only way for Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights is resistance in all its forms”.
Syria also expressed its “support” for the Palestinian people and the forces “fighting against Zionist terrorism”.
A senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for the attack, calling it a “proud operation”.
“We support this operation,” Yahya Rahim Safavi said, quoted by ISNA news agency.
Safavi backed the Palestinian militants “until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem”.
At a parliament session, lawmakers chanted “Down with Israel”, “Down with America” and “Welcome Palestine”, according to a video published by the Tasnim news agency.
The United Arab Emirates called for “an immediate ceasefire” and “exercising the utmost restraint,” state news agency WAM reported.
“The UAE has expressed its sincere condolences to all the victims of the recent crisis,” a foreign ministry statement said, stressing the importance of protecting civilians.
Abu Dhabi normalised relations with Israel in 2020 under the US-backed Abraham Accords, along with Bahrain and Morocco.
“The Kingdom of Morocco expresses its deep concern at the deterioration of the situation and the outbreak of military action in the Gaza Strip, and condemns attacks against civilians wherever they may be,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called for “an immediate halt to military operations in Gaza” and “the cycle of armed confrontation between the two sides”.
He said, “Israel’s continued implementation of violent and extremist policies is a time bomb depriving the region of any serious opportunity for stability in the foreseeable future.”
Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa said they supported “the heroic jihadist operation”.
In a statement published on the website of the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency, the Iran-aligned group said the attack “revealed the weakness, fragility and impotence” of Israel.
It called the operation “a battle of dignity, pride, and defence”.