One Chinese injured in Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Chinese embassy issues safety alert
Published: Oct 08, 2023 02:02 AM
A barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are seen in the sky of the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, October 7, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

A barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are seen in the sky of the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, October 7, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

The Chinese Embassy in Israel confirmed that a Chinese worker was injured in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Saturday, and the embassy has issued an urgent alert to Chinese citizens in Israel to pay close attention to security.

According to the embassy, the Chinese worker was injured by a stray bullet near Ashkelon in southern Israel during Saturday's Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is currently in hospital.

The embassy issued a safety alert on Saturday, saying that Israel had been hit by rocket attacks and armed assaults in multiple areas on the morning of that day, resulting in significant casualties. Hence, the embassy reminded Chinese citizens in Israel to closely monitor the local security situation and follow security measures to ensure their own safety.

The alert also stated that according to the Israeli tourism department's reminder, all types of tourism activities within Israel had been immediately suspended, and foreign tourists who were already in the country were told to stay in their hotel rooms and avoid going out.

Accordingly, the embassy emphasized that Chinese citizens must pay attention to and comply with relevant safety guidelines, especially familiarizing themselves with the locations and distribution of bomb shelters, and in the event of an air raid alarm, they should evacuate to the bomb shelters immediately.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday, combined gunmen crossing into Israel with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza, with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that the country was "at war," according to media reports.

At least 40 people have been killed and over 700 injured, with the death toll expected to rise, the Times of Israel reported, while the Palestinian health officials said that 198 have died and at least 1,610 people had been injured in the strikes.

Cohen Roni, an Israeli citizen, told the Global Times on Saturday that she had never experienced such a large-scale conflict.

"I woke up in the morning to the sound of alarms and rockets. The entire country was in chaos, and my hands trembled with fear while my heart raced. Currently, citizens are all confined to their homes, not leaving under any circumstances. This is extremely dangerous, as if I were to leave my house, I could potentially be kidnapped or killed," Roni said.

Although the scale of this conflict is relatively unusual, some Chinese experts believe that fundamentally it remains a conflict between Israel and Palestine, and will not escalate into a war between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries.

This kind of conflicts have occurred in the past, mostly between Israel and Palestine's hawkish militias groups like Hamas, rather than a total war between the two countries, and normally Israel retaliated by intensifying its strikes on Hamas and the Gaza Strip to make Palestinians pay more bloodsheds, Ma Xiaolin, senior professor and dean of the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean Rim at Zhejiang International Studies University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Following the strikes, countries that have established diplomatic relations with the Middle East and Israel expressed varying degrees of protest and condemnation, leading to temporary appeasement, Ma added.

Currently, some major Arab or Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Oman are calling for both sides to exercise restraint, Ma said. "This indicates the delicate stance of these countries towards the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as they don't wish to be deeply involved," the expert noted.