Tánaiste summons Israeli ambassador over Gaza deaths

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney summoned the Israeli ambassador to a meeting this morning to express Ireland's outrage at the level of death and injury in Gaza yesterday .

Mr Coveneyalso called for restraint from Israel in the hours and days ahead.

Ambassador Zeev Bokar wasinformed of Irish demands for an independent international investigation into yesterday's deaths led by the United Nations.

The meeting took place between 8am and 8.30am this morning, ahead of briefing Cabinet.

In a statementa spokesperson for the Tánaiste said: "Our mission in Ramallah reports that emergency responders in Gaza and the Strip's health services are overwhelmed with the level of casualties."

"The health system was already facing major challenges due to lack of equipment and essential medicines."

The statement added: "Ireland is also very disturbed by the injuries suffered by health workers as reported by the WHO: 211 recorded attacks against health workers in Gaza, attending the large numbers of injured during mass demonstrations at the border fence.

"Nine sustained bullet wounds, 13 were injured by tear gas canisters and 189 suffered with tear gas inhalation. 25 ambulances were also damaged."

Fianna Fáil TDDarragh O'Brien has described yesterday's actions by Israeli forces on the Gaza border as "an outrage and a massacre".

He was speaking outside Leinster House this morning.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government should send the Israeli Ambassador home and recall Irish diplomats from Israel in protest at yesterday's events.

She also said the Government should act on anOireachtas joint committee recommendation to formally recognise Palestine.

Ms McDonaldsaid that it is not tenable for the Government to sit on its hands and talk about restraint in the light of such deliberate aggression.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said the EuropeanUnion should act against what he described as the slaughter along the Gaza border.

He said an emergency meeting for European ministers should be held, and the Government should formally recognise the decision of the Dáil and recognise the state of Palestine.

The Social Democrats has said theTánaiste should push the EUto impose trade sanctions against Israel.

Co-leaderCatherine Murphy described yesterday's killings in Gaza as "unconscionable" and said there has to be a consequence for Israel.

In the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 Gaza war, at least 60Palestinians were killed and more than 2,200 were wounded yesterday.

Read more news of Dublin on our site.

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