The Israeli bombardments on Gaza has intensified on Friday
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called on Israel to "immediately stop this madness" and end its "attacks" on targets in Gaza after Israeli forces intensified strikes on the Palestinian territory.
"The Israeli bombardments on Gaza intensified last night and once again targeted women, children and innocent civilians and worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis," Erdogan said on X, formerly Twitter.
"Israel must immediately stop this madness and end its attacks."
Israel has been building up to a ground invasion since Hamas fighters crossed the border on October 7 and killed 1,400 people, mainly civilians, and took 229 hostages, according to Israel.
More than 7,300 people have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on the territory, including about 3,000 children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Erdogan also encouraged a heavy turnout for a rally in support of Palestinians in Istanbul on Saturday, organised by his Islamo-conservative AKP party, which could see around one million people attend.
"We will declare loud and clear that we stand alongside the Palestinian people against Israel's persecution," he said.
During two decades in power, Erdogan has repeatedly taken a stand in favour of the Palestinians, but last year he also moved to restore diplomatic relations with Israel, meeting in September with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time. But on Wednesday he cancelled plans to visit Israel citing its "inhumane" war against Hamas in Gaza, whom he described not as a terrorist group but as "liberators" fighting for their land, drawing an angry condemnation from the Israeli government.
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