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HomeworldGaza becoming a 'graveyard for children': UN chief

Gaza becoming a 'graveyard for children': UN chief

GAZA: Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday (Nov 6), amplifying demands for a ceasefire in the enclave, where Palestinian health authorities said the death toll from Israeli strikes had exceeded 10,000.

Both Israel and the Hamas militants who control Gaza have rebuffed mounting international pressure for a ceasefire.

Israel says hostages taken by Hamas during its rampage in southern Israel on Oct 7 should be released first; Hamas says it will not free them or stop fighting while Gaza is under assault.

“Ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces and continued bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and UN facilities – including shelters. No one is safe,” Guterres told reporters.

“At the same time, Hamas and other militants use civilians as human shields and continue to launch rockets indiscriminately towards Israel,” he said, calling for an immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Israel said 31 soldiers had been killed since it began expanded ground operations in Gaza on Oct 27 and reiterated that Hamas was hiding with civilians and at hospitals. Hamas said the idea that Hamas was based in hospitals was a “false narrative” that the UN should verify.

BLINKEN ON REGIONAL TOUR

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has toured the region to try to prevent the conflict from escalating and plan a secure future for Israelis and Palestinians as well as get in more aid.

“I think we’ll see in the days ahead that assistance can expand in significant ways,” Blinken said in Turkey.

He visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday to show support for Palestinians there and in Gaza and held talks in Israel as well as in neighbouring Jordan with Arab leaders.

US CIA Director William Burns also visited Israel and was due to go on to other states in the region, the New York Times reported. The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

Israel said it was striking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response to a barrage of rockets fired at northern Israeli cities, an intensification of the worst clashes across the Israel-Lebanon border since 2006.

Hamas said it had launched 16 missiles towards Nahariyya and Southern Haifa in Israel.

Meanwhile, people searched for victims or survivors at the Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza, where the health ministry said Israeli forces had killed at least 47 people in strikes early on Sunday.

“All night I and the other men were trying to pick the dead from the rubble. We got children, dismembered, torn-apart flesh,” said Saeed al-Nejma, 53. Asked for comment, the Israeli military said it was gathering details.

The Israeli military said a four-hour window for civilians to leave the north would be repeated daily.

UN monitoring showed fewer than 2,000 people used the corridor on Sunday, citing fear and road damage. A US envoy said on Saturday between 350,000 and 400,000 people were still in the north.

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