India calls for strict observance of humanitarian law on Israel-Hamas conflict

New Delhi: Days after an attack on a hospital in Gaza triggered global outrage, India on Thursday called for strict observance of international humanitarian law.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is concerned over civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation.

We would urge strict observance of international humanitarian law, he said at his weekly media briefing while replying to questions on the attack on the hospital this week.

We have strongly condemned the horrific attack on Israel, Bagchi said, adding the international community must stand together in combating terrorism in all its forms.

On the Palestine issue, he said India reiterated its position in favour of direct negotiations for a two-state solution.

Around 470 people were reported to have been killed on Tuesday in the explosion on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, triggering strong international condemnation.

Palestinian authorities blamed Israeli air strikes for the explosion at the hospital while Israel said it was caused by a misfired rocket launched from Gaza by militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed shock at the loss of lives in the attack on the Gaza hospital and that those involved in civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict should be held responsible.

“Deeply shocked at the tragic loss of lives at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured,” Modi said on X.

“Civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict are a matter of serious and continuing concern. Those involved should be held responsible,” he said.

The conflict has been triggered by unprecedented and multi-pronged attacks against Israel by Hamas militants from Gaza since October 7. Israel has launched a massive counter offensive in Gaza to avenge the attacks.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 3,300 people have been killed and over 12,000 wounded in Gaza since the conflict began.

Around 1400 people in Israel have been killed and 3,800 injured in the deadly attack by militant group Hamas since October 7. Nearly 200 others were abducted by Hamas.