RIGA - There is and must be no justification for the brutal and atrocious terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist group, Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said on Monday during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
During his working visit to Israel, Rinkevics met with the Israeli president, family members of the civilian hostages captured by Hamas militants and Israel-based Latvian nationals, Rinkevics' communications advisor Martins Dregeris told LETA.
The Latvian president expressed Latvia's solidarity with the people of Israel and stressed that Latvia stands together with the people of Israel at this difficult time. Israel has the right to self-defense and Latvia supports Israel's fight against terrorism in accordance with humanitarian and international law.
The discussions between the two countries' presidents dealt with humanitarian situation in Gaza and the deliveries of humanitarian relief. Rinkevics condemned the efforts of Hamas to use civilians as human shields.
"The cynical and cowardly tactic of Hamas to hide behind hostages and civilians deserves the strongest condemnation," the Latvian president said, adding that civilians should be protected as much as possible amid the fight against terrorism.
In a tweet, Herzog thanked Rinkevics for the support shown for the people of Israel as well as for the clear and unequivocal call for the release of the hostages and condemnation of the heinous actions carried out by the Hamas terrorists. The Israeli president noted that Latvia's voice is important on the international stage.
In a meeting with family members of civilians captured during the Hamas terrorist attacks, Rinkevics voiced hope for the release of the hostages and their speedy return to their loved ones. The Latvian president also promised to promote diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the hostages.
Rinkevics also met with Latvian nationals residing in Israel, with whom he discussed the current situation and potential needs for Latvia's support. Rinkevics thanked the compatriots for maintaining their ties with Latvia and for all they have done for Latvia over the years.
As reported earlier, on October 7, Hamas militants massacred more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians, during an unexpected large-scale attack on Israel. A further 240 people, including women, children and elderly people, were taken hostage by terrorists and taken to the Gaza Strip.
Israel responded to the Hamas attack by launching a massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip and later by a ground operation.