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Home ยป Israel-Gaza Attacks: More Than 10 Britons Feared Dead Or Missing

Israel-Gaza Attacks: More Than 10 Britons Feared Dead Or Missing

Image source, Family handout

Image caption, Nathanel Young was a former pupil at JFS, a Jewish school in London

By Doug Faulkner & Nick Beake

BBC News

More than 10 British citizens are feared dead or missing in Israel after the weekend’s attack by Hamas, an official UK source has told the BBC.

Nathanel Young and Bernard Cowan are the only Britons confirmed to have died.

But the BBC understands photographer Dan Darlington is thought by his family to be dead.

About 900 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas launched its attacks on Saturday morning.

That includes 260 at a music festival where Briton Jake Marlowe was providing security. He has been reported missing.

Nearly 690 people have been killed in Gaza after retaliatory Israeli air strikes.

Thousands have taken to the streets on Monday evening, some gathered outside Downing Street for a vigil in support of Israel and others for a pro-Palestinian demonstration outside the Israeli embassy.

More on Israel-Gaza attacks

The family of Mr Cowan, who grew up in Glasgow, said: “We are grieving the loss of our son and brother, Bernard Cowan, who was horrifically murdered on Saturday during the surprise terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas.

“We ask for privacy at this time while we process this huge loss to our family, both at home and in Israel, and to the Jewish community in Glasgow where he will be sorely missed.”

The north London school attended by Mr Young, who was 20 and serving with the Israel Defense Forces, is “devastated” by his death, its headteacher has said.

He went to the same school – North London’s JFS Jewish School – as 26-year-old Mr Marlowe – who was reported missing from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, close to Gaza.

Image source, Cowan family

Image caption, In a statement Bernard Cowan’s family said: “We are grieving the loss of our son and brother”

JFS headteacher Dr David Moody said: “We are heartbroken at what has happened.

“Nathanel is fondly remembered within the school and we think of him with nothing but love. Equally, we have seen reports that Jake Marlowe is missing and we all pray that he is found soon.”

Mr Young’s funeral, held at Israel’s national cemetery Mount Herzl, was interrupted after loud bangs were heard over Jerusalem.

Media caption, Watch: Israeli soldier’s funeral interrupted by sirens

The authorities had asked that no more than 50 people attend the open-air service – so that, like other public gatherings, it could not be a target. In the end more than 1,000 turned out – and listened as Mr Young’s brother Elliot pay tribute to him.

But when his sister started to remember him, an emergency siren pierced the tranquillity.

Mourners threw themselves to the ground, taking cover under trees and between gravestones.

Repeated explosions could be heard. Some began reciting prayers, others began to video-call loved ones.

After a few minutes, the alarm fell silent, and the funeral continued.

The UK government believes around 50,000 to 60,000 British nationals are in either Israel or Gaza.

It has said it is assisting the families of several individuals in Israel and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip but there are no plans for a UK-facilitated evacuation of British citizens.

The Israel embassy in London said: “We are receiving a lot of questions [about] the 10 British citizens. At the moment we don’t have any information. We are working with British authorities.”

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the region.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK government was working “very closely” with its Israeli counterparts to “establish the status of any British nationals on the ground”.

He called the scenes from Israel “horrifying” and said “Hamas and the people who support Hamas are fully responsible for appalling acts of terrorism – call it out for what it is”.

Following an emergency Cobra meeting Foreign Secretary James Cleverly refused to speculate about the number of Britons involved but said it was “unprecedented”.

He said that due to Israel’s “unique status” there were a large number of British-Israeli dual nationals – many of whom planned to stay in Israel or who were members of the Israel Defense Forces.

Consular numbers are available for those seeking to leave, he said, with flights still available if people wanted to do that.

Scotland’s First minister Humza Yousaf has said his parents-in-law are “trapped” in Gaza.

He said the Israelis have told them to leave but they have no way to get out and the UK Foreign Office cannot guarantee safe passage.

Speaking at a vigil outside Downing Street, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said he prayed that “the darkness we are enduring will lead to light. That the chaos, confusion and bitterness, the mourning and the grief, will be replaced by peace.”

Israeli ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely said it was “so clear that it is a fight between good and evil” and that “good will prevail”.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, A vigil was held outside Downing Street for victims of the attacks

A pro-Palestinian demonstration has been taking place near the Israeli embassy in west London, with thousands gathered – including from groups Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – and chants including “Free Palestine” ringing out.

Large groups of police officers watched on as flares were lit and placards calling for Israel to “end the occupation” were waved.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, Thousands gathered outside the gates of the Israeli Embassy in West London

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has written to police chiefs in England and Wales urging them to step up patrols and use their powers to prevent “disorder and distress to our communities”.

She said: “There can be zero tolerance for anti-semitism. Sadly, we have seen in recent years how events in the Middle East are used as an excuse to stir up hatred against British Jewish communities.

“There is no place for demonstrations, convoys, or flag-waving on British streets that glorifies terrorism or harasses the Jewish community.”

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