'Hamas aren't freedom fighters they're terrorists like ISIS' Defence Secretary tells LBC after 'barbaric' attacks

11 October 2023, 08:39

'Hamas aren't freedom fighters they're terrorists like ISIS': Grant Shapps

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"Hamas are terrorists, pure and simple, just like ISIS," Defence Secretary Grant Shapps tells LBC.

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On Saturday, Hamas sent attackers across the border into Israel and fired thousands of rockets in an unprecedented incursion, which also saw a music festival targeted.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps hit out at Hamas, branding them "terrorists."

"As a Brit, our sense of justice transcends all of this. It's just so clear people who go out and do this sort of thing aren't somehow freedom fighters or militants or gunmen, they're pure and simple terrorists. They're like ISIS. They are murdering people for the sake of murdering civilians in a hateful, disgraceful, disgusting way, and I say that as a Brit and as a human being as well as a Jew."

Read more: 1,500 bodies of Hamas gunmen found as Israel says border is secured - with 'up to 150' hostages still in Gaza

Read more: Israeli woman Inbar Lieberman, 25, hailed a hero for leading defence of Nir Am kibbutz against advancing Hamas

Mr Shapps said the UK government was in communication with Israel on many levels and they have offered "help and support" to the country. Branding the attacks by Hamas as "absolute barbarism," the Defence Secretary said "innocent people in their hundreds" had been "slaughtered," with "babies being butchered and boys' heads being cut off."

"Even Holocaust survivors, who survived the Nazis, were taken off and murdered. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Israelis - they have every right to defend themselves."

Mr Shapps said he could not detail the support the UK was offering, "for obvious reasons."

The Defence Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari
The Defence Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari. Picture: LBC
Thousands of IDF soldiers have been called up after the attacks
Thousands of IDF soldiers have been called up after the attacks. Picture: Alamy

Since the weekend's atrocities, Israel has cut Gaza off from deliveries of food, fuel, medicine and other supplies and has launched retaliatory air strikes on the 25-mile stretch, which is home to 2.3 million people.

At least 1,600 lives have already been claimed on both sides, and perhaps hundreds more.

Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza are holding more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage, according to Israel.

Tel Aviv has vowed a retaliation against Hamas that will "reverberate ... for generations", with its mobilisation of 360,000 reservists raising questions about whether it will order a ground invasion.

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed to LBC that a "significant number" of British-Israeli nationals have been caught up in the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

At least two Britons were killed in the Hamas onslaught, with another feared dead and more missing.

Nathanel Young, 20, was serving in the Israeli army when he was killed during Hamas's charge.

Bernard Cowan, who grew up around Glasgow, also died.

Jack Marlowe, 26, who went to the same London school as Mr Young, is believed to be missing, while photographer Dan Darlington is feared dead.

A post from Mr Darlington's sister Shelley on social media said he was "murdered" at Nir Oz, a kibbutz in southern Israel.

His death has not been officially confirmed.

Mr Marlowe was providing security at the Supernova music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re'im when the area was set upon by Hamas attackers.