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Guterres: ‘Gaza situation reaches dangerous new low’

October 14, 2023 at 10:57 am

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to press ahead of the Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York, United States on October 13, 2023. [Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images]

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the situation in Gaza had reached “a dangerous new low”.

Guterres told reporters: “We need immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza so that we can get fuel, food and water to everyone in need.”

He continued: “I have been in constant contact with the leaders across the region, focusing on ways to reduce suffering and prevent further dangerous escalation in the West Bank or elsewhere in the region, especially in southern Lebanon,” noting that “all hostages in Gaza must be released immediately.”

For his part, Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour appealed to Guterres to do more to prevent Israel from committing a “crime against humanity” after Israel gave nearly half of the population of the Gaza Strip 24 hours to leave their homes while planning a ground offensive.

Mansour told reporters before a meeting of Arab Group ambassadors at the UN: “He has to do more. Whatever was done is not sufficient. We all need to do more to stop this crime against humanity.”

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The UN said that the Israeli army informed it late on Thursday that 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza must move to the south of the Gaza Strip within 24 hours, which the Palestinians fear is a sign of a ground attack.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric asserted: “The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

Dujarric added that the US: “Strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

The attack carried out by Hamas in Israel on Saturday killed more than 1,300 people. Israel responded by launching the most intensive air strikes in its 75-year conflict with the Palestinians. Gaza health authorities confirmed that 1,799 people were killed in the bombing.

Mansour stressed that there was no safe place in Gaza, adding: “We need to stop this war immediately. We need to send convoys of food and medicine to help the people there and stop this ethnic cleansing from taking place.”

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