Scholz warns of “incalculable” consequences of spread of violence in Middle East

BERLIN (Reuters) -German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday against violence spreading like wildfire “with incalculable consequences for the whole region” following the biggest attack on Israel in years by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

“We warn everyone against fueling and spreading terror in this situation,” he said, noting he would hold a discussion with U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the topic later on Sunday.

“The security of Israel is Germany’s reason of state and we will act accordingly,” he said.

The chancellor was referring to Germany’s perceived historic duty towards Israel given its responsibility for the Holocaust, echoing a statement made earlier in the day by the leaders of all three parties in his centre-left coalition as well as the opposition conservatives.

Scholz said he had already spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also aimed to speak with the Egyptian president about possible mediation efforts.

He added that authorities had increased the protection of Israeli and Jewish institutions in Germany in view of the attack on Israel and condemned reported celebrations of the violence on German streets.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Toby Chopra and Ros Russell)