LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s King Charles is appalled by the “barbaric acts of terrorism” in Israel, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said on Wednesday, following attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“This is a situation his majesty is extremely concerned about, and he has asked to be kept actively updated,” the spokesperson said.
“His thoughts and prayers are with all of those suffering, particularly those who have lost loved ones, but also those actively involved as we speak.”
Israel’s death toll has reached 1,200 with more than 2,700 wounded, its military has said, during the Hamas militants’ hours-long rampage after breaching the border fence around Gaza on Saturday.
Retaliatory strikes on the blockaded enclave have killed 1,055 people and wounded 5,184, Gaza’s Hamas authorities said.
“His majesty is appalled by and condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism in Israel,” the palace spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, the British monarch spoke to Israeli President Isaac Herzog and also Jordan’s King Abdullah to personally express his concerns for those who were suffering.
Charles, 74, who has long called for inter-community dialogue and understanding, and for religious leaders to encourage followers to respect those of other faiths, became the most senior British royal to pay an official visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories in 2020.
During the trip, when he met former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he spoke of the evil of the Holocaust and the dangers of antisemitism, as well as expressing sadness over the suffering and hardship faced by Palestinians.
Charles, who had previously travelled to Jerusalem in 1995 and 2016 to attend the funerals of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Shimon Peres, also visited the tomb of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who is buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.
She was honoured by Israel for sheltering Jews in her palace in Nazi-occupied Greece during the Holocaust.
The king’s son and heir, Prince William, also undertook an official visit Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories in 2018, becoming the first senior British royal to do so, speaking of his hopes there could be a “just and lasting peace”.
A spokesperson for William and his wife, Kate, said they were “profoundly distressed by the devastating events that have unfolded in the past days”.
“The horrors inflicted by Hamas’ terrorist attack upon Israel are appalling; they utterly condemn them,” the spokesperson said.
“As Israel exercises its right of self-defence, all Israelis and Palestinians will continue to be stalked by grief, fear and anger in the time to come. Their Royal Highnesses hold all the victims, their families and their friends in their hearts and minds.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by William James, Nick Macfie and Toby Chopra)