Govt summons Israeli ambassador

2014-07-16 10:10
Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Ali, AP)

Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Ali, AP)

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Johannesburg - Israeli ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk will be summoned to the department of international relations to explain his country's bombardment of the Gaza strip, the SABC reported on Wednesday.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the broadcaster on the sidelines of the Brics summit in Brazil, that Lenk would have to explain the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

The New Age newspaper reported that South Africa was poised to recall its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, who was summoned for a meeting.

Unnamed sources said Ngombane was seen in meetings at the department in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Department spokesperson Clayson Monyela told the newspaper that no decision had been taken "yet" on whether Ngombane would be recalled.

The Citizen newspaper reported that Ngombane was back in the county for safety reasons.

Monyela was not immediately available for comment to Sapa on Wednesday morning.

News agency Agence France-Presse reported that the death toll in Gaza, Palestine, had risen to around 200 due to clashes between Israel and Hamas members.

Local officials in Gaza reportedly said 560 homes had been destroyed, and thousands of buildings damaged after a week of fighting and air strikes.

The latest surge in violence was sparked by the kidnapping and murders of three Israeli teenagers and the revenge killing of a Palestinian youth.

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