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Colombia to break diplomatic ties with Israel over actions in Gaza

Colombia says it will break diplomatic relations with Israel on Thursday over its actions in Gaza.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro made the announcement at a rally in Bogotá’s Bolívar Square on Wednesday, describing the Israeli government’s handling of the war in Gaza as “genocidal.”

Israel launched its assault in the Palestinian territory following terror group Hamas’ attacks on October 7, which left more than 1,200 people dead and saw more than 250 taken hostage – many of whom remain in captivity today.

Now nearing its eight month, Israel’s war in the isolated enclave has killed more than 34,000 people, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, condemned Colombia’s announcement and accused Petro of rewarding Hamas, which controls Gaza, saying he was siding with the “most despicable monsters known to humanity.” Katz also called Petro a “hate-filled, antisemitic president,” but said relations between both countries would remain warm despite the president’s actions.

Hamas said it “highly appreciated” Petro’s position, saying in a statement that it considered the decision “a victory for the sacrifices of our people and their just cause” and calling on other countries to follow suit.

South Africa has previously accused Israel of violating international laws on genocide, telling the United Nations’ top court that Israel’s leadership was “intent on destroying the Palestinians in Gaza” – a case which Israel dismissed as “absurd blood libel.”

The International Court of Justice later ordered Israel to “take all measures” to prevent genocide but stopped short of ordering its government to halt the war.

Regional neighbor Bolivia also cut diplomatic ties with Israel last year, citing “crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people” in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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