JERUSALEM: The office of Turkey’s president says he is engaged in intense telephone diplomacy in a bid to end Israel’s use of force against Palestinians.
Since late Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken to Malaysia’s king and the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, as he seeks a strong stance by Muslim nations against Israel, according to Erdogan’s office.
The Turkish president, who has has strongly denounced Israel’s actions against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the fasting month of Ramadan, has also spoken to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief, Ismail Haniyeh.
The latest round of fighting comes as Turkey has reportedly been seeking to restore ties with Israel.
The two countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2018, after the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking mass protests by Palestinians.
Late on Monday, thousands of protesters marched to Israel’s embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul to protest Israel, ignoring Turkey’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The Israeli military says it has assassinated a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza on Tuesday.
It said the militant was the head of the Islamic Jihad’s rocket unit and identified him as Samih al-Mamluk.
The military said other senior militants in the organization were also killed in the same strike.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has also denounced Israel’s use of force against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Khan said Tuesday that he had asked his foreign minister to contact his Turkish and Saudi counterparts to discuss how to collectively respond.
Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a news conference urged the world community to take notice of Israel’s use of force against innocent Palestinians worshippers.
Under discussion is whether Pakistan, Saudi and Turkish officials should convene the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of Islamic countries.
Pakistan is one of the few countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Meanwhile, Israeli media reports that a rocket has struck an empty school in the coastal city of Ashkelon, not far from the Gaza Strip.
Television footage showed thick smoke rising from cars that had caught on fire.
Israel’s Home Front Command had ordered the closure of schools on Monday in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, including Ashkelon.
The move came during the escalation of tension that’s built for weeks over contested Jerusalem.