Chinese envoy meets Hamas leader Haniyeh first time since Oct 7

In a first such meeting since the Oct 7 cross-border Hamas raid and consequent Israeli war on Gaza, a Chinese Foreign Ministry envoy called on Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar, Beijing said on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a brief statement, the Foreign Ministry said Ambassador Wang Kejian met the head of Hamas’ political bureau in Doha.

The two “exchanged views on the Gaza conflict and other issues,” the statement concluded.

It is the first known public contact between Beijing and the Palestinian resistance group that governs Gaza, since Oct 7, when Israel launched a massive bombardment on the besieged coastal enclave following an attack by Hamas inside Israel.

After the Oct 7 cross-border raid by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people, more than 31,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza, and over 73,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide, and guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Call for internal reconciliation among Palestinians

In Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian Tuesday called on all factions in Palestine to use dialogue to “achieve internal reconciliation.”

Extending congratulations to Mohammad Mustafa on taking office as the new prime minister, Lin said China “supports” the Palestinian Authority in “enhancing authority.”

Beijing supports “all political factions in Palestine in achieving internal reconciliation through consultation and dialogue,” Lin added.

Reacting to the Israeli raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Monday, Lin said: “What has happened in Al-Shifa Hospital epitomizes the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

“The top priority now is to realize immediate ceasefire, protect civilians with utmost efforts, avoid greater casualties and alleviate the humanitarian crisis,” said the ministry spokesman.

A senior Palestinian police officer was killed by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, the Palestinian government media office said.

It said Brig. Gen. Fayeq al-Mabhouh, the head of police operations in Gaza, was killed in an Israeli raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

According to the statement, Al-Mabhouh was responsible for coordinating the entry of humanitarian aid with Palestinian tribes and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) into the northern Gaza Strip.

“This crime shows that Israel is seeking to spread chaos in Gaza and prevent the arrival of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of hungry people in northern Gaza,” it added.

The Israeli army, for its part, claimed that it killed the head of Hamas’ Internal Security Service.

The military said in a statement that it received intelligence information from its internal security services, Shin Bet, and the Military Intelligence about the presence of several Hamas leaders in Al-Shifa Hospital.

On Monday, the Israeli army announced that its forces stormed the hospital, which houses thousands of ill and wounded patients, as well as displaced people.

According to Israeli public broadcaster KAN, around 80 Palestinians were detained from the facility.

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