OTTAWA — Canadian and American political leaders are condemning ongoing violence in the Middle East as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reaches a tipping point.
Palestinian militants led by Hamas launched a large-scale invasion over the weekend against Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds and taking others hostage.
The group, formerly known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, has vowed to annihilate Israel and has been responsible for many suicide bombings and other deadly attacks since it was founded in 1987.
When Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel reacted with a blockade on Gaza, restricting the movement of people and goods.
As of Wednesday, at least 2,100 people, including two Canadians, have died since violence broke out on Saturday.
As analysts predict a major escalation of the war, political leaders are closely monitoring the situation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada “unequivocally condemns” the attack against Israel and stands united with Israelis.
“These acts of violence are completely unacceptable,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this. Civilian life must be protected.”
Trudeau also condemned rallies that have taken place across Canada in support of Hamas’ attacks on Israel.
“Let’s stand united against acts of terror.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre also made similar remarks, saying “there is no place for the glorification of terror in Canada.”
“Hamas’ murder and rape of innocent Israeli civilians is despicable,” he said, condemning what he called “sadistic violence” against civilians.
“Conservatives condemn the displays of hatred and justifications of cruelty that have followed the terrorist attacks against Israel.”
Heather McPherson, the NDP’s foreign affairs critic, said her party is horrified and heartbroken by the “unjustifiable” violence in Israel and Palestine.
“These are war crimes and must be prosecuted,” she said.
McPherson called for the release return of hostages and demanded Ottawa ensure the release of Canadians among the captives.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Mélanie Joly, responded with a statement Tuesday, confirming the Canadian Armed Forces will begin evacuation flights from Tel Aviv in the coming days.
The flights, she said, are being made available for Canadians, permanent residents and their immediate families.
Global Affairs Canada is reporting more than 3,200 Canadians in Israel and nearly 500 in Gaza and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden called the attacks “appalling” and said Americans stand at the ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel.
“Terrorism is never justified,” he said.
“Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation.”
Biden also confirmed on Tuesday at least 11 Americans were killed as a result of the war.
Closer to home, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs also issued a statement on X to condemn the attacks.
“We mourn the loss of innocent civilian lives and our prayers are with everyone affected by this unthinkable violence,” he said.