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UN Secretary-General calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza following death of 35,000 Palestinians

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The United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The attacks by Israeli forces have resulted in the deaths of more than 35,000 Palestinians since October. Guterres also urged for the unconditional release of captives held by Hamas and an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza. He emphasized that a ceasefire is just the beginning, warning that it will be a long road to recovery from the devastation caused by the war.

During Guterres’ plea for a ceasefire, Israeli forces continued to strike multiple points in Gaza, displacing hundreds of thousands of refugees who were already fleeing the conflict. The town of Beit Lahiya saw at least 12 bodies brought to the hospital following what was described as an Israeli “carpet bombing”. Residents of Gaza expressed shock and uncertainty about where to seek shelter as the attacks intensified. The situation became more dire as Israeli tanks advanced into the Jabalia refugee camp, home to over 100,000 residents who are descendants of Palestinians displaced during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Those fleeing the bombardment are facing severe shortages of food and medical supplies in the areas where they seek refuge. The Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza reported a significant loss in their capabilities to provide aid, with no international response to their appeals for assistance. Medical facilities are operating with minimal resources, lacking essentials like fuel, light, and oxygen for patients. The dire conditions have led to an influx of injured women and children in hospitals, highlighting the urgent need for humanitarian aid to Gaza.

In central Gaza, a father and son, both doctors, were killed in an Israeli strike, further adding to the casualties of the conflict. The southern city of Rafah along the border with Egypt also suffered heavy casualties, with 18 people killed in the past 24 hours. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees recorded around 300,000 people fleeing Rafah over the past week, denouncing the forced displacement of Palestinians who have nowhere safe to seek refuge in Gaza. Residents were advised to go to a designated humanitarian zone, but concerns were raised about its readiness to accommodate a large influx of people.

Despite the efforts of aid agencies and international organizations, the situation in Gaza remains dire. The continuous shelling and airstrikes have left residents feeling overwhelmed and with no safe place to hide. Many Palestinians who have been displaced by the conflict are struggling to find shelter and basic necessities. The need for immediate humanitarian intervention and a lasting ceasefire is crucial to prevent further loss of life and alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza. The international community must step up its efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and work towards a lasting peace in the region.

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