Prince William says ‘too many have been killed’ as he calls for end to Gaza conflict in unprecedented statement

20 February 2024, 12:46 | Updated: 20 February 2024, 13:28

Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war
Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war. Picture: Alamy/Getty/Social Media

By Will Taylor

Prince William has called for an "end to the fighting" between Israel and Hamas "as soon as possible" because "too many have been killed".

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The Prince of Wales said he wants to see the release of the hostages and more aid to Gaza.

In a statement released on X, the royal said: "I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October. Too many have been killed.

"I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible.

The Prince of Wales said he wants to see the release of the hostages and more aid to Gaza
The Prince of Wales said he wants to see the release of the hostages and more aid to Gaza. Picture: Twitter

"There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released.

Read more: Prince William on mission to fight anti-Semitism as he sets out to 'recognise the human suffering' of war in Gaza

"Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home.

"Even in the darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair.

Prince William has called for an end to the fighting in Gaza
Prince William has called for an end to the fighting in Gaza. Picture: Getty

"I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that."

His call comes as Israel is poised to invade Rafah, one of the last remaining parts of the Gaza Strip its military is yet to target with ground troops.

Israel is poised to invade Rafah
Israel is poised to invade Rafah. Picture: Getty

But the US is pressuring Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid another bloody battle, with the city on the southern border with Egypt sheltering scores of civilians who fled the fighting in the north.

Read more: 'Stop the fighting now': David Cameron's plea to Israel and Hamas ahead of raid on Rafah

UN estimates suggest as many as 1.5m people are there, leading to fears about the sheer number of civilian casualties any operation there would risk.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) estimates 10,000 Hamas terrorists are in the city, but there have been mixed signals about when any operation might be launched.

William said too many people have died in the fighting
William said too many people have died in the fighting. Picture: Getty

It was previously reported that Mr Netanyahu wanted an offensive in the city to end by mid-March because of international pressure.

But Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet, suggested the IDF would go in if hostages were not released by Ramadan, which is due around March 10.

It comes as William meets aid workers who have helped get humanitarian support to the region.

In the aftermath of Hamas's October 7 massacre, the prince and Kate said they condemned the "appalling terrorist attack on Israel".

Foreign secretary David Cameron has said: "We are calling for a stop to the fighting right now, we think that what we need is a pause in the fighting and the hostages to come out and aid to go in.

"That should happen straight away."

Sir Keir Starmer has called for a ceasefire in Gaza "that lasts" ahead of a Commons vote on backing a ceasefire instigated by the SNP.

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