Brazil’s president sparked a row on Monday by accusing Israel of ‘killing innocent people without any criteria’ in the Gaza Strip, deeming its actions there ‘as grave’ as the October 7 attacks by the Hamas terror group.

‘After the act of terrorism provoked by Hamas, the consequences, the solution of the state of Israel, is as grave as that of Hamas,’ said Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at a ceremony in Brasilia welcoming Brazilians who had been evacuated from Gaza.

‘They are killing innocent people without any criteria,’ said Lula. He also accused Israel of ‘dropping bombs where there are children, hospitals, on the pretext that a terrorist is there.’

‘They are not killing soldiers, they are killing children,’ he told journalists at the Brasilia Air Base, claiming the number of women and children killed or missing was unheard of.

Lula, 78, who hugged and kissed the returnees on the tarmac, said he had ‘never’ seen ‘such brutal and inhuman violence against innocent people’.

‘This is inexplicable. First you have to save the women and children, then you fight with whomever you want,’ Lula said.

But representatives of Brazil’s Jewish community denounced his remarks as ‘erroneous’, ‘unfair’ and ‘dangerous’.

They said the comments ‘put Israel and Hamas on the same level’, and defended the ‘visible and proven’ efforts of the Israeli authorities ‘to save Palestinian civilians’.

‘Our community expects balance from our authorities,’ added the Israeli Confederation of Brazil, which claims to represent some 120,000 Brazilian Jews, the second largest community in the region, in a statement.

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