The Arab leaders and Iranian president participate today in Saudi Arabia at a joint summit which is expected to stress the urgency of putting an end to Israel’s attacks on Gaza before the conflict ignites the entire region.

The emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be held in Riyadh five weeks after the start of the war that erupted with a bloody attack by the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas on October 7 on Israeli soil.

About 1,200 people were killed on the Israeli side, most of them civilians, on the day of the Hamas attack, according to a new, downwardly revised toll released yesterday, Friday, by the authorities. Also 239 people have been kidnapped and taken inside the Gaza Strip, according to the same source.

Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas, killing more than 11,000 people, including at least 4,500 children, according to the Hamas government’s health ministry.

The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation were originally scheduled to meet separately, but the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced early this morning that the summits of the two organizations will be held together.

The decision underscores the need for “a unified collective position that expresses the common Arab and Muslim will regarding the dangerous and unprecedented events observed in Gaza and the Palestinian territories,” the Saudi news agency reported.

The Arab League will discuss “the way forward on the international stage to end the aggression, support Palestine and its people, condemn the Israeli occupation and hold it accountable for its crimes,” the deputy said Thursday. Arab League secretary general Hossam Zaki.

The Islamic Jihad organization, an ally of Hamas in Gaza, said however that it expects “nothing” from this meeting. “We don’t hope for anything from such meetings,” which never yielded results, said Mohamed al-Hidi, the organization’s deputy secretary general, during a press conference in Beirut yesterday.

“The fact that this conference is being held after 35 days (of war)” is a clear indication, he added.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s expected attendance at the conference will also mark his first visit to Saudi Arabia since the surprise announcement in March of restoring diplomatic relations between the two major Middle Eastern countries after a seven-year rift.