Colombia suspends Israel arms purchases after Gaza aid convoy massacre

Colombia suspends Israel arms purchases after Gaza aid convoy massacre
Colombia President Petro said that the world 'world must block Netanyahu' following the suspension of arms deals with Israel after the Al-Rashid Street massacre
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Gustavo Petro has criticised Israel's military campaign in Gaza, and accused it of carrying out a genocide in the territory [Getty/file photo]

Colombia's president Gustavo Petro on Thursday suspended Israeli weapons purchases after over 100 people were killed by Israeli gunfire in a scramble for food aid in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Israel is one of the main providers of weapons to the South American country's security forces, which are engaged in a decades-long conflict with leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug cartels.

Petro made his announcement on Thursday after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians scrambling for food aid in a shocking massacre that killed at least 112 Palestinians, while hundreds more people were injured.

The Colombian leader also accused Israel of carrying out a "genocide" in Gaza, where over 30,000 have been killed since Tel Aviv began waging its brutal military onslaught on 7 October.

"Asking for food, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu. This is called genocide and recalls the Holocaust," Petro wrote on X.

"The world must block Netanyahu. Colombia is suspending all arms purchases from Israel."

Colombia's military and police have for decades used rifles, pistols and missiles from Israel.

Its air force owns about 20 Kfir combat aircraft, and the country has the rights to manufacture Galil automatic rifles and Spike missiles under Israeli patent.

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Petro, a critic of Israel's brutal military campaign in Gaza, has argued vehemently with the ambassador of that country in Bogota, Gali Dagan.

In October, just days after the start of the war, Israel said it was "halting security exports" to Colombia after Petro accused Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of using language about the people of Gaza similar to what the "Nazis said of the Jews."

Colombia's first leftist president has also asserted that "democratic peoples cannot allow Nazism to reestablish itself in international politics."

Thursday's incident added to a Palestinian death toll which has reached at least 30,228 as of Friday.

Israel has targeted schools, hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza since 7 October where it has also imposed a siege. A large number of Israel's attacks have been decried by several countries and rights groups as war crimes.