ROME, Feb 13 — Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said today there were “too many victims” in Gaza, saying Israel’s assault on the Palestinian territory following the unprecedented Hamas attacks was “disproportionate”.

In an interview on RAI radio, Tajani—whose country holds the rotating G7 presidency this year—strongly condemned the “savage” October 7 attacks and said Israel had the right to defend itself.

But he said that “at this point Israel’s reaction against the Palestinian civilian population is disproportionate... there are too many victims who have nothing to do with Hamas”.

Tajani distanced himself from comments made last week by Francesca Albanese, an Italian who is United Nations special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, who denied the Hamas attacks were “anti-Semitic”.

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Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel called her online remark “outrageous” and said in a statement yesterday that she was now “denied entry to the State of Israel”.

Tajani said he did “not agree with a word” of Albanese’s statement.

“Because the Hamas attack was not a military attack, it was an action aimed at hunting Jews,” he said.

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Tajani rejected statements by some who call the bombardment of Gaza a genocide, but said: “Israel is making a mistake, because the reaction after the horrible attack of October 7 is causing too many civilian victims.”

The war began after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also took about 250 people hostage, around 130 of whom are still in Gaza, according to Israeli figures. Israel says 29 of the remaining captives are presumed dead.

Vowing to eliminate Hamas, Israel launched a massive military offensive in Gaza that the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry says has killed at least 28,473 people, mostly women and children. — AFP