Bahrain Leader Condemns Hamas Oct. 7 Onslaught, Calls For Release Of Hostages

By Times of Israel
Posted on 11/20/23 | News Source: Times of Israel

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa became the first Arab leader to publicly condemn Hamas’s October 7 onslaught during a Middle East security and defense summit over the weekend.

During a keynote address at the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies’s annual Manama Dialogue security summit on Friday, the Bahraini leader said that he “unequivocally” condemns Hamas after thousands of terrorists poured into Israel through the Gaza border fence, slaughtered at least 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took some 240 hostages.

Calling the situation in Gaza “intolerable,” Khalifa stressed that “both in Islam and in Judaism, the protection of innocent life is a duty and a moral responsibility.”

Addressing the Manama Dialogue attendees, which included diplomatic and security officials from across the Middle East, United States and Europe, the Bahrain leader said he stands “on the side of civilians and innocents, and not on the side of political posturing. The attacks on October 7 were barbaric, they were horrific. They were indiscriminate. They killed women, children, the elderly, it did not matter.”

“They hit civilian institutions and they hit military targets,” he continued. “And on top of that, it seems it’s okay now to grab hostages and take them away and speak about it as if it’s an act of war. That is something that we condemn.”

The crown prince did not spare his criticism of Israel, either, or of the ongoing operation in Gaza, through which Israel has vowed to bring back the hostages and eliminate Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

The Hamas-run health ministry says that some 12,000 people in Gaza have been killed since October 7, most of them civilians. However, these numbers cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include members of Hamas, as well as civilians killed by hundreds of misfired rockets launched by Gazan terror groups.

“I unequivocally condemn the air campaign that resulted in the death of over 11,000 people in Gaza, 4,700 of which are children,” Khalifa said. “Now both of these actions have led to the death of innocents… both are reprehensible, both must stop, and both are things that we must deal with, with the greatest care, moving forward, because what we need to do is break the cycle.”