The leader of Bury Council has joined his colleagues all over the region in calling for a “ceasefire by all sides” in Gaza.

The spiralling violence in the region has sent shockwaves throughout communities in Bury with seven of the borough’s councillors having signed a letter calling on the Labour Party to demand an immediate ceasefire.

Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council’s ruling Labour group, has now put his name to a statement signed by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Deputy Mayor Kate Green and the leaders of all ten Greater Manchester councils calling for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

It said: "We are deeply concerned about events in the Middle East and the anguish being experienced by people in Greater Manchester, most acutely in our Jewish and Muslim communities.

"We condemn unreservedly the appalling terror attacks on innocent civilians in Israel by Hamas on 7th October.

Bury Times: Cllr Ayesha Arif, Cllr Ummrana Farooq, Cllr Shaheena Haroon, Cllr Tahir Rafiq, Cllr Imran Rizvi, Cllr Babar Ibrahim and Cllr Tamoor TariqCllr Ayesha Arif, Cllr Ummrana Farooq, Cllr Shaheena Haroon, Cllr Tahir Rafiq, Cllr Imran Rizvi, Cllr Babar Ibrahim and Cllr Tamoor Tariq (Image: Bury Council)

“We recognise that Israel has the right to take targeted action within international law to defend itself against terror attacks and terrorist organisations and to rescue hostages. 

"We also have profound concerns about the loss of thousands of innocent lives in Gaza, the displacement of many more and widespread suffering through the ongoing blockade of essential goods and services.

“It is vital that urgent support and humanitarian aid is allowed into the area. 

"Given the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the ten Leaders of Greater Manchester join the growing international calls for a ceasefire by all sides and for the hostages to be released unharmed."

Over the last two days seven Bury councillors, including the authority’s deputy leader, have put their names to a statement organised by Labour Muslim Network calling on Labour leader Keir Starmer to back a ceasefire.

Cllr Ayesha Arif of Bury East, Cllr Ummrana Farooq of Bury East, Cllr Shaheena Haroon of Redvales, Cllr Babar Ibrahim of Moorside, Cllr Tahir Rafiq of Unsworth, Cllr Imran Rizvi of Holyrood and Cllr Tamoor Tariq the deputy leader all put their names to the letter.

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More than 250 Labour councillors from Muslim backgrounds around the country have also signed while London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have added their voices to those calling for a ceasefire.

On Wednesday this week, Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi made a dramatic intervention in the House of Commons.

She said: “This is collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza for crimes they did not commit.

“How many more innocent Palestinians must die before this Prime Minister calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire?”