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South Africa checking whether two of its citizens were killed in Israel

Houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City on October 10 2023.
Houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City on October 10 2023.
Image: REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi / File photo

The government is checking information from the Israeli embassy that two South African nationals have been killed in attacks by the militant group Hamas, a spokesperson said on Friday.

The Hamas attacks killed more than 1,300 people and have triggered days of retaliatory attacks by Israel's military in which more than 1,500 Palestinians have died.

“We are verifying this,” Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the department of international relations and cooperation, said when asked about a local news report that two South Africans had been killed since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated.

Monyela said the source of the information was a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, by the Israeli embassy in Pretoria. He said it was possible the people the embassy said had been killed could have dual South African-Israeli citizenship.

“On behalf of the government we would like to pass a message of sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the two nationals,” said Monyela.

He said their missions in Ramallah in Palestine and Tel Aviv in Israel are co-ordinating efforts and rendering consular assistance and services.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian embassy held a media briefing in Pretoria on Friday. 

Hanan Jarrar, Palestine's ambassador to South Africa, said: “As long as the Palestinian people are denied their rights and treated as lesser human beings in their own homeland, there will be no lasting peace or stability in the region or in the world. 

“The international community is obliged to provide international protection for the Palestinian people. We demand the immediate end of Israel's illegal colonial occupation and its discriminatory apartheid practices against the Palestinian people.

“We stand in full support of all international initiatives aimed at establishing a political framework that secures the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Additional reporting by Kgaugelo Masweneng

Reuters

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