Israeli ambassador thanks S. Korea for condemning Hamas brutality during rally

SEOUL, The top Israeli envoy to Seoul on Tuesday extended his appreciation to South Korea for strongly denouncing the recent atrocities of the Palestinian Hamas militant group.

Israel's Ambassador to South Korea Akiva Tor made the remark during a rally hosted by local nonprofit organizations to show solidarity with Israel, as participants urged Hamas to cease its brutalities and release all Israeli hostages.

"I would like to thank the Republic of Korea government for its strong statements of condemnation of the Hamas atrocities and for being a friend to Israel," Tor said.

The envoy stressed that the Palestinians and people of Gaza are "not the enemy of Israel" but said the Israelis will not hesitate to fight if they have to.

Calling Hamas a "terror organization," he warned the militant group will "not retain any ability to harm Israel at the end of this struggle."

Joy Sakurai, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, also reaffirmed Washington's support for Israel at the event, saying there is "no justification" and "no excuse" for terrorism.

"Israel has the right, indeed it has the duty to defend itself against these brutal attacks from Hamas, and to try to do what it can to make sure this never happens again," she said.

She also recognized Seoul's support for Israel and its recent efforts to evacuate South Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans from Israel, saying it truly reflects "Korea's global leadership."

Last week, a South Korean military aircraft brought back home 163 South Koreans, 51 Japanese and six Singaporeans from Israel amid escalating tensions in the region after the Hamas militant group's surprise attack early this month.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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