In the United Kingdom, Azhar Ali, Labour’s by-election candidate for Rochdale, has issued an apology over his claims that Israel allowed the October 7 attack to happen and had been warned about it.
In a local party meeting, Ali allegedly said that Israel had “allowed” the attack by Hamas militants which killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 250 others hostage.
In retaliation, Israel waged war launching incessant strikes in the Gaza Strip to kill Hamas gunmen.
The secret recording of what Ali said was obtained by Mail and was published on Sunday.
As quoted, Ali said: “The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel 10 days earlier… Americans warned them a day before [that] there’s something happening.”
“They deliberately took the security off, they allowed… that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want,” he added.
Reports also claimed that the Labour councillor also said that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has “lost the confidence of the parliamentary party”.
He said: “A lot of the MPs I’ve spoken to, non-Muslim MPs, feel that on this issue, he’s lost the confidence of the parliamentary party.”
Now, the Labour Party has issued a statement on behalf of Ali. As reported in local reports, in the statement issued on Sunday morning, Ali said: “I apologise unreservedly to the Jewish community for my comments which were deeply offensive, ignorant, and false.”
“Hamas’ horrific terror attack was the responsibility of Hamas alone, and they are still holding hostages who must be released. October 7th was the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust, and Jews in the UK and across the world are living in fear of rising antisemitism. I will urgently apologise to Jewish leaders for my inexcusable comments,” he said.
“The Labour Party has changed unrecognisably under Keir Starmer’s leadership, he has my full support in delivering the change Britain needs,” he added.
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The comments led to major outrage. Labour’s national campaign coordinator, Pat McFadden, told Sky News that Ali’s comments were “completely wrong”.
The shadow frontbencher said: “He’s issued a complete apology and retraction and I hope he learns a good lesson from it because he should never have said something like that in the first place.”
(With inputs from agencies)