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UN chief calls for 'immediate' end to fighting as Israel bombs Gaza

Photo: Agence France-Presse Palestinian children stand among the rubble of a house destroyed by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, April 27, 2024.

France Media Agency to Rafah

Published yesterday at 12:00 a.m. Updated at 12:09 p.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army bombarded the Gaza Strip again on Sunday, as the UN chief urged an “immediate” ceasefire in the besieged Palestinian territory threatened with famine.

The Gaza Strip is devastated by more than seven months of war between Israel and Hamas, sparked by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement against Israel on October 7. The Hamas Ministry of Health reported on Sunday a death toll of more than 35,000, mostly civilians, in the Palestinian territory since the start of the war.

According to AFP correspondents and witnesses, the Israeli army continued its airstrikes across the territory, including in the town of Rafah on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, threatened with an offensive major terrestrial.

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The bodies of 18 people killed were taken to a hospital in Rafah in the past 24 hours, where six injured people were also admitted, the hospital said on Sunday.

Two doctors, father and son, were also killed in Israeli strikes in Deir al-Balah (center), according to Hamas civil security services.

“I reiterate my call, the call of the whole world for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, for the unconditional release of all hostages” held in Gaza and for “an immediate increase in humanitarian aid,” Antonio said Guterres in a video address to an international donor conference in Kuwait.

“But a ceasefire will only be the beginning. It will be a long road to recover from the devastation and trauma of this war,” he added.

The entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza is almost blocked according to the UN since Israeli troops entered eastern Rafah on Monday and took the border crossing point with Egypt, blocking a key entry point for aid convoys.

According to the spokesperson for the Gaza crossings authority, Hicham Adwan, “Israeli military vehicles advanced from the border […] for approximately 2.5 kilometers in depth” where they stopped.

The NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF), for its part, estimated that Israeli operations in the town of Rafah “make it impossible to provide vital medical assistance,” adding that it had begun to evacuate 22 patients from a field hospital in Rafah.


According to the UN, some 1, 4 million Palestinians, mostly displaced by Israeli bombing and fighting, are crowded into Rafah. Some 300,000 of them left the eastern neighborhoods of the city after several evacuation orders issued by Israel, according to the army.

The army clarified on Saturday that the areas affected by the evacuation orders were “the scene of terrorist activities of Hamas”, in power since 2007 in the Gaza Strip, a poor territory approximately 40 kilometers long, where live some 2.4 million inhabitants.

“The artillery fire never stopped […] We woke up one night to the sound of tanks and armored vehicles and, for a moment, we had the impression that they (Israeli soldiers) were at our door,” Mohammed Hamad, a resident of eastern Rafah who had to travel, told AFP towards the west of the city. “There is no safe place in Gaza,” he lamented.

A large-scale Israeli offensive in Rafah “cannot take place “, warned the UN human rights chief, Volker Türk, on Sunday, because it would, according to him, contravene “international humanitarian law”.

In the northern Gaza Strip, the army also issued evacuation orders for Jabaliya and Beit Lahia, and reported a “major operation” in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. According to the same source, Hamas is “trying to rebuild” in several areas.

The evacuation orders were described as “unacceptable” by the President of the Council European Charles Michel, who called on Israel not to carry out a “ground operation in Rafah”, a city considered by Israel to be the last stronghold of Hamas.

The head of the European Union (EU) diplomacy, Josep Borrell deemed the evacuation of the population massed in Rafah to “unsafe areas” “intolerable”.

Death of a hostage according to Hamas

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack against Israel, killing more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data. More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army.

In response, Israel has promised to annihilate Hamas which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the EU.

The armed wing of Hamas announced on Telegram the death of an Israeli hostage on Saturday, detained in Gaza since the attack on October 7, and of which it had broadcast images of him alive a few hours earlier.

When asked, the army did not react immediately.

Despite the reopening on Wednesday of the Kerem Shalom crossing, neighboring Rafah – closed by Israel for three days after Hamas rocket attacks – the delivery of aid remains “extremely difficult”, according to the UN.< /p>

According to the media Al-Qahera News, close to Egyptian intelligence, Egypt refused to coordinate with Israel the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip from the point crossing Rafah. She “warned Israel against the repercussions of its control of the Rafah crossing point and held it fully responsible for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” added the Egyptian media citing a “source high level.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116