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Killings of civilians in Gaza 'unparalleled, unprecedented' during UN chief's term, says Guterres

November 20, 2023 at 4:23 pm

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US on November 6, 2023 [Fatih Aktaş – Anadolu Agency]

The UN chief, on Monday, decried events in Gaza since 7 October, calling them a “killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented” since he took office, Anadolu Agency reports.

What is clear is that we have had, in a few weeks, thousands of children killed, so this is what matters. We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am Secretary-General

Antonio Guterres said in New York while presenting a new UN environmental report.

It is important to be able to transform the tragedy into an opportunity, Guterres said, adding:

It is essential that after the war we move in a determined, and the reversible way to a two-state solution

He also said he has been “very clear” in denouncing violations of international humanitarian law and violations of the protection of civilians.

Asked why he has not called Israeli attacks “war crimes”, Guterres said he did not have a “mandate” to do so.

The Gaza Strip has been under heavy bombardment since the Palestinian group, Hamas, launched a surprise offensive against Israel on 7 October.

Since Israel began its attacks on 7 October, at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including over 9,000 women and children, and more than 30,000 others have been injured, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s relentless air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.

An Israeli blockade has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity, and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a small trickle.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, based on official figures.

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