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Arab and Muslim ministers called on Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as their delegation visited Beijing on the first leg of a tour to push for an end to hostilities and to allow humanitarian aid into the territory.
The officials meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Monday are from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, Palestine and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, among others.
“We are here to send a clear signal: that is we must immediately stop the fighting and the killings, we must immediately deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Al Shoukry landed in Beijing on Monday morning, Cairo’s foreign ministry announced, saying he was joined by members of the “Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee entitled to internationally support the efforts aimed at ending the war in Gaza”.
The delegation, which is set to meet officials representing the permanent members of the UN Security Council, is also piling pressure on the West to reject Israel’s justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defence.
About 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s massive aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200.
Several hundred tonnes of aid have been reaching the besieged enclave through Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border since October 21.
However, thousands of tonnes are required per week for the enclave’s 2.3 million residents. Aid is currently held up by Israeli demands to inspect lorries entering the strip, as well as their demand that aid transfers must be met with the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Earlier this morning, heavy fighting erupted around the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza where thousands of patients and displaced people have been sheltering for weeks.
A shell struck the second floor of the hospital, killing at least 12 people, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza and a medical worker inside the facility.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.