New Delhi: Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that he is cutting short his scheduled three-day India visit following the early morning Gaza airstrikes, and will return to his country tonight after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a tweet, Cohen, who arrived this morning, said:
“I landed a short time ago in New Delhi, the capital of India, and immediately upon landing I received a security update.
“In light of the events in Israel, I decided to cut short the diplomatic visit to India and return to Israel after my meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will take place today.”
Cohen will be holding bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today.
According to the Times of Israel, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen received a briefing on the Gaza operation in New Delhi.
He decided to cut short his trip and will return to Israel this evening after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Cohen had been scheduled to lead a business delegation to Mumbai.
According to CNN, three Islamic Jihad commanders and multiple family members were among at least a dozen Palestinians killed as Israeli jets and helicopters struck multiple targets in Gaza overnight in what Israel described as an operation targeting “kingpin terrorists.”
The Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 12 people were killed and 20 were injured in the airstrikes.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed it launched pre-dawn airstrikes on Gaza, saying it was a “response to incessant aggression on the part of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.”
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht called the targets “kingpin terrorists” and insisted that the military “did as much as we could to focus on them.”
But he also conceded the IDF was “aware of some collateral,” an apparent reference to the wives and children who were also killed alongside those being targeted.
Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad confirmed three of its commanders were killed in the operation along with their wives and children.
Meanwhile, authorities in Israel are putting in place protective measures amid fears of reprisal strikes from terror groups in the Gaza Strip.