The leaders of the UN agency, saying “enough is enough”, called for a humanitarian ceasefire on Monday nearly a month into the war in Gaza, as health authorities in the enclave said the death toll from Israeli strikes now exceeded 10,000.
Israel rejected mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, saying hostages taken by Hamas militants during their rampage in southern Israel on October 7 should first be freed.
“An entire population is under siege and attack, denied access to the necessities of life, bombed in their homes, shelters, hospitals and places of worship. This is unacceptable,” UN leaders said in a joint statement.
“We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This has to stop now.”
The 18 signatories include UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN aid chief Martin Griffiths.
The reported death toll in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7 has now surpassed 10,000, with the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave saying at least 10,022 Palestinians have been killed, including 4,104 children.
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli attack on a house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2023. PHOTO: REUTERS
ONE Reuters journalist in Gaza said an overnight air, ground and sea bombardment was one of the most intense since Israel launched its offensive following the October 7 attack in which Hamas killed 1,400 people and took more than 240 hostages.
Israel, which says its forces have encircled Gaza City, is facing mounting pressure for civilian casualties. A US diplomatic push in the region aims to reduce the risks of conflict escalation.
The health ministry in Gaza said dozens of people were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City and further south in Gaza neighborhoods such as Zawaida and Deir Al-Balah. Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa TV, citing medical sources, said at least 75 Palestinians were killed and 106 wounded in the attacks.
Palestinian health officials said eight people were killed in an overnight airstrike on Gaza City’s Radisi cancer hospital. Israel’s military said it was looking into the report.
The Israeli military said its strikes hit “tunnels, terrorists, military installations, observation posts and anti-tank missile launch sites”. Ground troops killed several Hamas fighters while capturing a compound containing observation posts, training areas and underground tunnels, it said.
Gaza border officials said the Rafah crossing has resumed operations to allow foreign passport holders and seriously injured Palestinians to enter Egypt. Hundreds of foreign nationals and the wounded were allowed to leave Gaza for Egypt last week, but no such departures have been reported since November 3.
Blinken in Turkey, CIA chief may visit Israel
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was greeted by only a deputy governor upon his arrival in Ankara.
There was no dignitary at the welcome. pic.twitter.com/lIValqQJp9
— Clash Report (@clashreport) November 6, 2023
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his US counterpart Anthony Blinken at a meeting in Ankara that a ceasefire in Gaza must be declared urgently, a Turkish Foreign Ministry source said.
Blinken made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Sunday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire. Blinken echoed US concerns that the ceasefire could help Hamas, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far ruled it out.
US CIA Director William Burns was also scheduled to visit Israel on Monday to discuss the war and intelligence with officials, the New York Times reported. Burns will also make stops in other regional states, the U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
The CIA did not respond ReutersRequest for comment.
Israel said 31 soldiers had been killed since it began sweeping ground operations in Gaza on October 27, fighting thousands of Hamas fighters who believe they can hold back an Israeli advance from a bundle of tunnels under the enclave.
Also read: How Hamas aims to trap Israel in the Gaza quagmire
Israel called on civilians in northern Gaza – the heartland of Hamas forces – to evacuate for their own safety and announced it would allow free passage on a southbound highway for four hours each day.
But UN monitoring showed fewer than 2,000 did so on Sunday, citing fear, extensive damage to roads and a lack of information due to limited communications, a UN humanitarian briefing said.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, showed reporters what he said were aerial shots of Hamas tunnels and rocket sites at two hospitals in northern Gaza, saying it showed Israel was not responsible for “what is happening now in northern Gaza”.
A Hamas statement called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to form a commission to visit Gaza hospitals to verify Israel’s “false narrative” that Hamas is using hospitals as staging grounds.
On average, one child is killed and two injured every 10 minutes during the war, the UN aid agency for the Palestinians said. The agency’s shelters in southern Gaza are overcrowded and unable to accommodate new arrivals, and many displaced people are sleeping on the streets, the UN humanitarian office said.
Telecom operator Paltel said services are resuming after being disconnected from the Israeli side on Sunday.
The US Central Command, which covers the Middle East, told X a nuclear missile submarine had arrived in the area – an unusual announcement seen by some analysts as a message to Iran, an Israeli enemy.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told state television that the US had sent a message to Iran over the past three days saying it was seeking a ceasefire in Gaza, but in practice Iran had only seen “US support for the genocide in Gaza”.
People searched for victims or survivors in the Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza, where the health ministry said Israeli forces killed at least 47 people in raids early Sunday.
“All night I and the other men tried to collect the dead from the rubble. We got children, dismembered, cut flesh,” said Saeed al-Nejma, 53. Asked for comment, the Israeli army said it was gathering details.
In a separate attack, 21 Palestinians from one family were killed in raids, the health ministry said. Israel’s military declined to comment.
Tensions have risen with Lebanon after an Israeli strike on a car in the country’s south killed three children and their grandmother, Lebanese authorities said.
Israel said it struck “Hezbollah terrorist targets in southern Lebanon” in response to an anti-tank missile attack that killed an Israeli civilian. Hezbollah said it responded by firing rockets into the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.
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