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UN chief Guterres strongly condemns Gaza aid site tragedy

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New York City | March 1, 2024 4:54:45 AM IST
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed strong condemnation for the devastating incident at a food aid site in Gaza, where the Gaza health ministry said over 100 lives were lost.

More than 100 people were killed after Israeli forces reportedly opened fire as crowds waited for food, leading to conflicting accounts from Israel's military and eyewitnesses, as reported by CNN.

"The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week," stated Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN chief. While the UN was not present during the incident, it has called for a thorough investigation into the tragic events.

Israel Defence Forces spokesperson Lt Col Peter Lerner, in response to the deadly incidents, clarified that the aid trucks involved belonged to "international aid by governments that came on in private truckloads to move north. We need to do everything in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation."

Expressing his dismay at the toll of Gazans in the ongoing conflict, Guterres noted that the health ministry reported a death toll surpassing 30,000, with over 70,000 injured.

The UN chief stated, "Tragically, an unknown number of people lie under rubble," reinforcing the urgent need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths underscored the shocking impact of the incident, declaring, "Even after close to five months of brutal hostilities, Gaza still has the ability to shock us." He expressed deep concern over the reported killing and injury of hundreds of people during the aid transfer west of Gaza City.

In response to the escalating crisis, a private United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting has been scheduled for 4:15 pm ET in New York City. The meeting aims to discuss the Palestinians killed or injured while awaiting a food aid convoy in northern Gaza. The UNSC meeting is a crucial forum to address the gravity of the situation and coordinate international responses, according to CNN.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported at least 104 fatalities and 760 injuries, attributing the casualties to live fire used by Israel Defence Forces troops as desperate civilians gathered around food aid trucks.

As the international community grapples with the repercussions of this tragic incident, the UN French ambassador is set to address the media at 4 pm ET, providing further insights into the ongoing crisis in Gaza and potential diplomatic efforts to mitigate the humanitarian impact, according to CNN. (ANI)

 
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