• First Page
  • Economy
  • Iranica
  • Special issue
  • Sports
  • Social
  • Arts & Culture
Number Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty One - 30 October 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty One - 30 October 2023 - Page 5

UN warns of ‘more desperate’ situation as Israel batters Gaza

Israel pounded Hamas-governed Gaza on Sunday in an escalating air and ground campaign as the UN warned the situation was “growing more desperate by the hour” in the besieged Palestinian territory.
Despite calls for a humanitarian cease-fire and outrage across the world, Israel has intensified its campaign triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7 that saw 1,400 people dead and 230 others captured, according to Israeli officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steeled Israelis for a “long and difficult war” ahead.

‘Intolerable’ human suffering
Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the Red Cross, voiced shock at the “intolerable level of human suffering” in Gaza and urged all sides to de-escalate.
“This is a catastrophic failing that the world must not tolerate,” she said. Panic and fear have surged inside Gaza, where more than half of its 2.4 million residents are displaced, according to the UN, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed.
Thomas White, UNRWA director in Gaza, said the warehouse break-ins were “a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated and desperate,” he said.
UNRWA provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. Its schools across the territory have been transformed into packed shelters housing displaced Palestinians. Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter from Egypt, some of which was stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into, the agency said.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said the situation was “growing more desperate by the hour” as casualties increase and essential supplies of food, water, medicine and shelter dwindle.
“The situation in Gaza is becoming
more desperate by the hour. I
regret that instead of a sorely needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations,” Guterres said during a visit to Nepal, after a four-day trip to Qatar.
He described as “totally unacceptable” the number of civilians killed and injured in the war.
Deaths top 8,000
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, the unrelenting bombardment has killed 8,005 people, mainly civilians and half of them children.
The strikes over the weekend – described by Gaza residents as the most intense of the war – knocked out most communications in the territory late Friday, largely cutting off the besieged enclave’s people from the world. Communications were restored to much of Gaza early Sunday.
Hamas authorities reported Sunday that a “large number” of people were killed overnight in raids on two refugee camps in northern
‘Second stage’ of war
Tanks and infantry pushed into Gaza over the weekend as Netanyahu announced a “second stage” in the war. The widening ground offensive came as Israel also pounded the territory from air, land and sea.
The Israeli military raised the number of troops fighting inside the Gaza Strip, army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Sunday.
The military has sought to assure the public it can achieve the two goals of its war on Hamas simultaneously – toppling the strip’s resistance group and rescuing some 230 Israeli captives.
But as the army ramps up airstrikes and ground incursions on the besieged enclave, laying waste to entire neighborhoods in preparation for a broader invasion, the anguished families of prisoners are growing increasingly worried those aims will collide with devastating consequences.
Israel strikes near hospital
Early Sunday, Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes near Gaza’s largest hospital, which is packed with patients and tens of thousands of Palestinians seeking shelter.
Israel has claimed Hamas fighters have a command post under the hospital, without providing much evidence.
The Palestinian Red Crescent also said on Sunday it had received warnings from Israeli authorities to immediately evacuate Al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip, adding that raids conducted on Sunday had taken place just 50 meters from the facility.
Head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on social media platform X that the Palestinian Red Crescent report was “deeply concerning”, adding it was impossible to safely evacuate hospitals full of patients.
Residents said the latest airstrikes destroyed most of the roads leading to Shifa Hospital in Gaza in the northern half of the besieged territory, which Israel has told people to evacuate. Israel says most residents have fled to the south, but hundreds of thousands remain in the north, in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones. Tens of thousands are sheltering in Shifa, which is also packed with patients wounded in strikes.
“Reaching the hospital has become increasingly difficult,” Mahmoud al-Sawah, who is sheltering in the hospital, said over the phone.
“It seems they want to cut off the area.” Another Gaza City resident, Abdallah Sayed, said the Israeli bombing over the past two days was “the most violent and intense” since the war started.
Central Israel under rocket fire
As Israel is expanding the ground activity and the scope of forces in the Gaza Strip, central Israel also came under heavy rocket fire on Sunday, with sirens sounding in several major cities.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said on its Telegram account that it was “bombing Tel Aviv in response to the Zionist massacres against civilians”.
Calls for cease-fire
Western countries have generally backed what they say is Israel’s right to self-defense. But there has been a mounting international outcry over the toll from the bombing and growing calls for a “humanitarian pause” to allow aid to reach Gaza civilians and ease the humanitarian crisis.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for a cease-fire in the Gaza war and renewed his call for the release of all prisoners.
The European Union appealed to all parties to allow unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza.
“People in Gaza depend on humanitarian aid only to survive the day. The depth of their desperation is beyond words,” the EU’s aid chief Janez Lenarcic said.
Meanwhile, in a phone call on Sunday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed their concern about getting aid into Gaza, according to a readout by Downing Street.
“The leaders stressed the importance of getting urgent humanitarian support into Gaza. They agreed to work together on efforts both to get crucial food, fuel, water, and medicine to those who need it and to get foreign nationals out,” a spokesperson for Sunak said.
“They expressed their shared concern at the risk of escalation in the wider region, in particular in the West Bank.”
Worldwide demonstrations
The conflict has prompted large demonstrations worldwide in support of the Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied in cities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia on Saturday and Sunday to show support for the Palestinians.
On Sunday people staged a rally in the Lebanese capital Beirut to show solidarity with Gaza.More than 5,000 people protested in Athens on Sunday, police said, calling for an end to the “massacre” of Palestinians.
About 3,000 protesters gathered in Belfast city center for a rally organized by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Saturday.
Rallies also took place in other parts of the UK, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.

AFP, AP, Reuters, BBC, and euronews contributed to this report.

Date archive