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Netanyahu among world leaders to offer solidarity after devastating Morocco quake

MARRAKESH, Morocco — Leaders and diplomats the world over expressed condolences and support on Saturday for Morocco after a devastating earthquake struck near tourist hotspot Marrakesh.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit late Friday killed at least 820 people and injured 672 others, including  205 seriously hurt, according to Moroccan authorities.

Support poured in from leaders across the world, including:

Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “devastated” by news of the quake, adding that “France stands ready to help with first aid.”

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, of Morocco’s cross-strait neighbor Spain, expressed his “solidarity and support to the people of Morocco in the wake of this terrible earthquake… Spain is with the victims of this tragedy”.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said “our thoughts are with the victims of this devastating earthquake. Our sympathy goes out to all those affected.”

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she “learned with grief of the tragic toll” from the quake and pointed to “Italy’s willingness to support Morocco in this emergency”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed sympathy “with the Moroccan people in the face of the terrible earthquake”, while top EU diplomat Joseph Borrell said the bloc is ready to provide Morocco “the assistance it wishes”.

Swiss President Alain Berset expressed his condolences. The country’s foreign ministry said it activated a crisis cell and is evaluating sending aid.

Tourists take shelter outside a hotel after an earthquake in Marrakesh, Morocco, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (AP Photo)

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his country stands by Morocco “in these difficult moments.”

Russia, Ukraine

The leaders of both Russia and Ukraine also offered their sympathies.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his “deepest condolences to HM King Mohammed VI and all Moroccans for the lives lost in the horrible earthquake.”

“Ukraine stands in solidarity with Morocco during this tragic time,” he said on social media.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed similar sentiments and said in a message to Morocco’s king, “we share the pain and the mourning of the friendly Moroccan people.”

India, Turkey

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is hosting the G20 summit this weekend, said he was “extremely pained by the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered support to “our Moroccan brothers in every way in this difficult hour”.

Middle East

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “instructed all government bodies and forces to provide any necessary assistance to the people of Morocco, including the preparations for sending an aid delegation to the area,” a statement from his office said.

It is the latest show of support in the wake of the 2020 Abraham Accords that saw Israel normalize ties with a number of Arab countries, including Morocco.

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, said we “stand with the Kingdom of Morocco during this difficult time and wish a speedy recovery ahead to all those affected.”

A man walks past a damaged wall of the historic Medina of Marrakesh, after after an earthquake in Morocco, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

He also ordered an “air bridge to deliver critical relief” to the country, according to state news agency WAM.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt also issued statements expressing their condolences and support after the quake.

World bodies

The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he “learnt with great sadness of the tragic consequences of the earthquake that hit the kingdom of Morocco”, expressing his “sincere condolences” to the king, the Moroccan people and the families of the victims.

The secretary-general of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Hissein Brahim Taha, prayed for “mercy on the victims and a speedy recovery for the injured.”

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the quake as “heartbreaking”, adding: “We stand ready to support the immediate health needs.”