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Montevideo, May 28th 2024 - 18:58 UTC

 

 

UN staff reported killed in Israeli offensive

Tuesday, May 14th 2024 - 10:48 UTC
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Rafah used to be home to some 1.4 million Gazans Rafah used to be home to some 1.4 million Gazans

UN Secretary-General António Guterres again called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza as one UN worker was killed and another injured during the Israeli deployment in the southern city of Rafah. According to the Hamas terrorist group's press office, both were traveling in a vehicle marked with UN flags and logos.

Guterres also noted in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death of a UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) staff member and the wounding of another whose vehicle was attacked on its way to the European Hospital in Rafah.

In a video message, the Portuguese Guterres called for an “immediate” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which remains under Israeli fire after seven months of war that has left, according to Hamas, more than 35,000 dead, mostly women and children.

“I reiterate my call, the call of the whole world, for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and an immediate increase in humanitarian aid,” Guterres had said in a video message to an international donor conference in Kuwait. In his view, a cease-fire would be “only the beginning” of “a long road to recovery from the devastation and trauma of this war.”

Israeli public radio reported that a shooting at a UN vehicle was being investigated while operations were being carried out in Rafah, Jabalia, and Zeitoun to prevent Hamas from “reorganizing its ranks.” Israel has been conducting a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in response to the October 7 attack during which nearly 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

The UN also warned that humanitarian aid has been blocked since Israeli troops entered eastern Rafah on Monday and seized the border crossing with Egypt. According to Gaza border crossing authority spokesperson Hicham Adwan, “Israeli military vehicles advanced from the border and drove about 2.5 kilometers.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel has no “credible plan” for the protection of civilians in Rafah, but acknowledged that his country continued to supply Israel with weapons except for high-explosive bombs, the launching of which was on “pause.” Blinken spoke on CBS' “Face the Nation” and said the White House has expressed concern to Israel for “months” about a major operation in Rafah. “We have told Israel that we cannot, and will not, support a major military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to protect civilians,” said the Democratic politician, who reiterated that he has “not seen” plans either in that regarding Gaza reconstruction.

In light of the impending Israeli offensive, some 360,000 Gazans have fled Rafah, on the southern tip of the border with Egypt, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said. “Meanwhile, in northern Gaza, shelling and other evacuation orders have created further displacement and fear for thousands of families,” UNRWA also said on X. Rafah had been home to 1.4 million people for months, most of them displaced by violence from other areas of the Gaza Strip. “There is nowhere to go. There is no safety to move without a ceasefire,” UNRWA stressed.

In this scenario, US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged Israel to do whatever it took to exterminate Hamas, just as the US was “justified” in dropping nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. “So, Israel, do what you have to do to survive as a Jewish state; whatever you have to do!” he added. Graham also argued in an interview with NBC News on Sunday that Hamas was to blame for most of the civilian casualties. The Israeli military is facing increasing international scrutiny. The White House is even said to harbor concerns that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may have violated international humanitarian law by using US weapons.

President Joseph Biden pledged not to support a major military operation in Rafah with U.S. weapons but felt that Israel's deployment had not yet crossed Washington's red line.

Categories: Politics, International.
Tags: Gaza, Israel, Rafah, UN.

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