Bolton Council's leading Labour Group broke its silence on the conflict in Israel and Gaza in a statement today (October 20).

It comes two weeks after the launch of an attack by Hamas, a militant organisation declared a terrorist organisation by the UK.

Israel responded with air strikes in Gaza, where the militant organisation is in power, and it stopped all electricity and water as well.

There are hundreds of casualties on both sides with the toll rising all the time.

Today (October 20), a spokesperson for Bolton Council's leading Labour Group said: "We the Labour Group councillors on Bolton Council unequivocally condemn the appalling violence which is taking place in Israel and Gaza and which is causing so much suffering to innocent men, women and children.

"We call on our government through local MPs to demand a ceasefire, the release of all hostages and the opening of corridors for the delivery of life-saving humanitarian supplies and medical treatment for the people of Gaza. We pledge to do all we can to raise money for the charities who are delivering relief and we urge the citizens of Bolton borough to be as generous as possible in supporting these charities."

ALSO READ: Bolton: Around 2,000 attend Victoria Square rally.

The statement is at odds with an LBC interview by Sir Keir Starmer in which he appeared to suggest Israel had "the right" to stop all electricity and water to Gaza.

However, the leader of the Labour Party said this is not what he meant in a later interview with other broadcasters.

Sir Keir said: "I know the LBC clip caused concern and distress in some Muslim communities so let me be clear about what I was saying and what I was not saying.

"I was saying Israel has the right to self-defence, and when I said the right I meant it was the right to self-defence. 

"I was not saying Israel has the right to cut off water, food, fuel or medicines.

"On the contrary. For over a week now I have been leading the charge calling for the humanitarian aid to come in."

On Saturday (October 14), around 2,000 demonstrators showed their support for Gaza at the town hall.

A march made its way from Queens Park to Victoria Square before a series of speeches on the steps.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.