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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

Germany and 25 other European Union states are calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza war. This should lead to a permanent ceasefire, the unconditional release of the hostages and the provision of humanitarian aid, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in the evening after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The 26 EU member states also called on Israel not to take military action in Rafah, in the far south of the Gaza Strip. Critics fear that this could further worsen the already dramatic humanitarian situation in the area. More than a million civilians currently live in the city - most of them refugees from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

Hungary did not want to support the joint appeal, as the dpa news agency learned from several diplomats. Hungary is considered particularly Israel-friendly in the EU.

The Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip was triggered by a massacre that terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. On the Israeli side, more than 1,200 people were killed. Israel responded with massive air strikes and, from the end of October, also with a ground offensive. According to the Hamas-affiliated health authority, more than 29,000 people died in the Gaza Strip as a result of the military operation. Around 69,000 others were injured.