The international community is closely monitoring the evolving situation in the region. AFP / Mohammed ABED

In a united show of support, the leaders of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany and Italy have released a joint statement expressing unwavering solidarity with the state of Israel and unequivocal condemnation of Hamas.

This statement follows an unprecedented attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which resulted in Israel's response with airstrikes and a complete siege of the Gaza Strip.

The joint statement was issued after a call between the leaders of the five countries, who collectively constitute the Quint international organisation. Their message reaffirms the commitment to peace and condemns acts of terrorism, emphasising that there is never any justification for such actions.

"We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned," the statement reads. "In recent days, the world has watched in horror as Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes, slaughtered over 200 young people enjoying a music festival and kidnapped elderly women, children and entire families, who are now being held as hostages."

The leaders emphasised their collective commitment to support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against these atrocities. Furthermore, they cautioned against any attempts by parties hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to their advantage.

The conflict, which began on Saturday, has already taken a devastating toll, with at least 900 people reportedly killed in Israel and more than 650 casualties in Gaza. Over 100 individuals have been taken hostage by Hamas, according to Israel's foreign ministry.

In response to Hamas's attack, the United States, under the leadership of President Joe Biden, has taken concrete steps. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that American naval ships, including an aircraft carrier, have been ordered to move closer to the eastern Mediterranean.

However, it was confirmed on Monday that the United States has no intention of deploying ground troops after the attacks on Israel. President Biden is committed to providing support to Israel and ensuring the safety of American citizens caught in the crossfire.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting, pledged to provide diplomatic, intelligence, or security support to Israel upon request. The joint statement, despite its condemnation of Hamas, did make some concessions to what it referred to as the "legitimate aspirations" of the Palestinian people.

"All of us recognise the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that forces from his country would exact a "huge price" against Hamas for the attack. The situation remains tense, with both sides facing a challenging road ahead in terms of achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict.

As the international community watches with concern, it remains to be seen how the leaders of the Quint organisation and other global stakeholders will work together to address this escalating crisis and bring about a peaceful resolution that respects the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.

President Biden also delivered sobering news on Monday, announcing that 11 Americans had tragically lost their lives in the attacks. He further warned that American citizens are likely among those held hostage by Hamas, underscoring the urgency of the situation and the need for swift and decisive action.

The world continues to hold its breath, hoping for a peaceful resolution and an end to the violence that has gripped the region. The international leaders' joint statement serves as a strong message of support for Israel and a stern condemnation of terrorism, but the path to lasting peace remains fraught with challenges and uncertainties.