Canada supports Israel's right to defend itself in accordance with international law, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, condemning Palestinian group Hamas for taking hostages during its incursion last weekend, APA reports citing Reuters.
Trudeau though side-stepped questions about whether Israel's decision to seal off the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and cut off water and power supplies to the enclave was justified. Israel on Thursday said there would be no pause of its siege of Gaza until all hostages were freed.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Wednesday said she was worried about what might happen next in Gaza.
"Israel has the right to defend itself in accordance with international law," Trudeau told a televised press conference in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories.
The United Nations World Food Programme said crucial supplies were running dangerously low in Gaza.
Trudeau did not respond directly when asked whether Israel's blockade conformed with international law.
"We need to continue to work with international communities and allies to try and find a way to protect all civilians through this. But the choices that Hamas has made, make that even more difficult than it would otherwise be," he said.
Three Canadian deaths have been confirmed so far. The number of missing people has increased to four from three, and it is possible they are being held hostage, officials told a briefing on Thursday.
The first Canadian military plane evacuating citizens flew 128 people from Tel Aviv to Athens on Thursday and a second plane with 153 people will leave soon, the officials said.
More than 1,600 citizens and permanent residents wanted help to leave the region, the officials said. Canada is advising against non-essential travel to Lebanon, given increasing tensions on the border with Israel.
Canada will give an initial C$10 million ($7.30 million)in humanitarian assistance to Israel and Gaza and is deploying 15 officials who are trained to help during times of emergencies. They will be based in Tel Aviv, Amman, Athens and other parts of the region.
Police in Canada's largest city, Toronto, said late on Wednesday they were aware of global online threats circulating about events that may occur on Friday, adding there were no credible threats to Jewish communities.
Police have increased patrols in Jewish communities, cultural centres and synagogues as well as mosques and other places of worship.