RIGA - The large-scale attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas simply caught Israel off guard, Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said in an interview on Latvian Television on Tuesday.
"This is not quite a new zone, as a hot conflict zone it had never really cooled off. The event just caught Israel off guard," the Latvian president said, adding that there will still be lots of discussions as to how preparations for such a massive attack could go unnoticed by Israeli intelligence.
Rinkevics also noted that the escalation in the Middle East is receiving much of global attention now, which means that the media and policy-makers are paying slightly less attention to Ukraine.
"So this is our task to ensure that those countries in Europe that are members of the EU and NATO do not reduce their support and attention to Ukraine," the president said.
Israel has been shelling the Gaza Strip for the past three days following a surprise attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel that killed hundreds of people.
The militants fled back to the enclave with around 150 hostages.
An Israeli military spokesman said on Monday that details on some 30 hostages had been passed on to their families.