A former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has come under fire from some unionists after attacking Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as “dreadful”.
Lord Kilclooney’s remarks came as a 24-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas broke down yesterday with the resumption of rocket fire.
More than 1,060 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the recent three-week offensive, compared to 43 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians. Questions are growing as to whether Israel is guilty of war crimes. In an unusual statement from a unionist, the former deputy leader of the party’s Assembly group also said he had been “amazed” by the adoption of the Israeli flag in some loyalist areas of Northern Ireland. “I often think they haven’t seen the reality of what is happening there,” said Lord Kilclooney.
“I am not an authority on war crime, but what does concern me are the civilians, women and children, who are being slaughtered. It is the slaughter of the innocents. It’s dreadful what Israel has been doing.”
The EU is extending its military training mission in Mali for another two years and creating a new one, focused on civil security, within the country following a 15 April decision by EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. Their move extends the mandate of the EU Training Mission Mali (EUTM Mali) until 18 May 2016. The mission, initially launched on 17 January 2013, has carried out the training and reorganisation of Mali’s armed forces with the primary aim of enabling the latter to regain full control of the country’s territory. Mali suffered major jihadist and militia incursions in its vast northern region throughout 2012 and nearly lost control of its capital in early 2013, prompting an urgent request for aid to France, whose interventionary force pushed back the rebels.