The leader of Bolton 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 Bolton with around 2,000 people flocking to a Bolton4Palestine rally earlier this month in the town centre.

Cllr Nick Peel, leader of Bolton 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 October 7.

The Bolton News: A Bolton4Palestine rally attracted around 2,000 people earlier this monthA Bolton4Palestine rally attracted around 2,000 people earlier this month (Image: Henry Lisowski)

“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 five Bolton Councillors, including two cabinet members, have put their names to a statement organised by Labour Muslim Network calling on Labour leader Keir Starmer to back a ceasefire.

Cllr Hamid Khurram, cabinet member for planning housing and highways, Cllr Nadeem Ayub, cabinet member for culture, Cllr Safwaan Patel, of Halliwell and Cllr Abdul Atcha, of Rumworth and Cllr Sajid Ali, also of Rumworth all signed 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?”

A further Bolton4Palestine protest is expected to take place in Bolton town centre on Saturday afternoon, while a peace vigil is expected to take place in the same location at a later date.