Israel-Gaza attacks: More than 10 Britons feared dead or missing

Nathanel YoungImage 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.

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

The BBC understands photographer Dan Darlington is thought to be dead by his family, while Jake Marlowe is missing.

Rishi Sunak has shown his support at a synagogue, while a vigil for victims has been held outside Downing Street.

A pro-Palestinian demonstration also took place near the Israeli embassy in west London.

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 Mr Marlowe was providing security.

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

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.

Image source, Unknown

Image caption,

The BBC understands photographer Dan Darlington is thought to be dead by his family

Image source, Jake Marlowe

Image caption,

Jake Marlowe was doing security work at the Supernova festival when the event was attacked

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.

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”.

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”.

Later, Prime Minister Mr Sunak spoke at Finchley United Synagogue, north London, telling Britain’s Jewish community that he would “stop at nothing to keep you safe”.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Rishi Sunak attended a service for victims at Finchley United Synagogue

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

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

Thousands gathered at the pro-Palestinian demonstration near the Israeli embassy in west London, including from groups Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, with 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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