Arab foreign ministers meet in Saudi Arabia ahead of emergency meeting on Gaza

Arab foreign ministers gathered in Saudi Arabia on Thursday ahead of an emergency meeting of the Arab League about Gaza due to take place on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is hosting Arab leaders and Iran’s president for two summits this weekend on the ongoing war in Gaza, which is raising fears of a regional escalation.

The emergency meetings of the Arab League on Saturday and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation the following day come after over one month of Israeli bombardment has killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza, many of them children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.

Israel’s campaign to destroy the Palestinian militant group has come in response to the bloody October 7 attack by Hamas militants that Israeli officials say left more than 1,400 people dead and around 240 taken hostage.

As Arab League foreign ministers held a preparatory meeting in Riyadh on Thursday, Hossam Zaki, the bloc’s assistant secretary general, said Saturday’s summit would demonstrate “how the Arabs will move on the international scene to stop the aggression, support Palestine and its people, condemn the Israeli occupation, and hold it accountable for its crimes.”

Saudi Arabia has voiced support for the Palestinian cause while denouncing incidents like the Israeli bombing last week of Gaza’s largest refugee camp which killed dozens of people.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s is expected to attend the OIC summit on Sunday in what will be his first trip to Saudi Arabia since a surprise, China-brokered rapprochement deal announced in March that ended seven years of severed bilateral ties between Riyadh and Tehran.

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