Israel-Palestine Escalation
Israel was hit by an unprecedented rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on October 7, with Hamas movement's troops infiltrating border areas. On October 8, the Israeli government announced that it had invoked Article 40 of the Basic Law, which means the country was officially in a state of war.

Gaza Hospital Attack Is Tragedy, Humanitarian Disaster: Putin

© AFP 2023 MAHMUD HAMSPeople gather by destroyed vehicles at the site of the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023 in the aftermath of an overnight blast there.
People gather by destroyed vehicles at the site of the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023 in the aftermath of an overnight blast there.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.10.2023
Russia's President arrived in China on October 17 to take part in the third edition of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. At the event, he held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, discussing, among other things, the current situation in the Middle East.
The attack on a hospital in Gaza is a tragedy and a humanitarian catastrophe, Vladimir Putin said, expressing hope that it will be a signal that the conflict must end.

"As for the hospital – the tragedy that happened there – these are terrible events. Hundreds of dead and hundreds of wounded – this, of course, is a disaster. Ina single place, especially in a place of a humanitarian nature. So I really hope that this will be a signal of the need to end this conflict as quickly as possible. In any case, we need to bring this matter to the possibility of starting some kind of contacts and negotiations," he said at a press conference during his visit to China.

Al-Ahly Hospital in the Gaza Strip was attacked on October 17. Gaza's health ministry said more than 500 people were killed, most of them women and children. The parties to the conflict blamed each other: Hamas said that the attack was carried out by Israeli planes, and the Israel Defense Forces declared that a rocket that was unsuccessfully launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group hit the hospital.
Putin noted that he believes that the main players do not want the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to deepen – an impression he got after a conversation with five leaders of the region.

"My impression after talking with five leaders of the region was that these were important, timely conversations, I'll tell you the main thing now, without details. I got the impression that no one wants to continue, develop the conflict and worsen the situation," Putin said at the press conference. "Here, in my opinion, are the main players: some, by definition, don’t want to, some are afraid of something, but the readiness to develop the conflict, turn it into a large-scale war – I have the impression that there are practically no such people," added the president.

On October 16, the Russian president contacted colleagues from Syria, Iran, Palestine and Egypt, discussing, in particular, the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.