UN chief, at Gaza crossing, appeals for end to Gaza ‘nightmare’



Israeli forces continued operations in and around Gaza’s biggest hospital complex, Al-Shifa, for a sixth day on Saturday.

The army said a total of more than 170 militants had been killed, more than 800 suspects questioned, and weapons found.

The “precise” operation is being conducted without harm to civilians or medical personnel, the army said.

The UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, said “health workers have been among those reported arrested and detained.”

Mohammed, 59, who lives a short walk from the Al-Shifa complex in Gaza City, told AFP he had seen “many bodies” in the streets, buildings on fire and tanks blocking the roads.

“I feel that Gaza has become worse than the fires of hell,” he said, giving only his first name.

‘Up in flames’

Netanyahu on Friday reiterated his plan to send ground troops into the southern city of Rafah.

“I hope to do that with the support of the United States, but if we need to, we will do it alone,” Netanyahu told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly that a ground invasion of Rafah is the only way to root out Hamas, but global leaders have warned that an incursion would worsen an already catastrophic situation.

In Rafah on Saturday, Guterres said: “Any further onslaught will make things even worse.”

Blinken said he would continue discussions with Israeli officials to find an alternative to a ground incursion of Rafah.

Even without ground troops, Rafah is suffering regular bombardments.

Members of the Kawari family, who had taken refuge in Rafah after fleeing from Gaza City, told AFP a “huge explosion” killed four children and their grandmother during an air strike early Saturday.

“The entire house is destroyed. It went up in flames,” said Fawzy Kawari, a relative of those who died.

To the north of Rafah, in Khan Yunis city on Friday, the Barbakh family mourned relatives killed in strikes — and expressed anger at both Israel and Hamas.

“We want to understand what’s the purpose of this war?” said Samih Barbakh. He accused Israeli forces of “annihilating us,” before addressing a complaint to Hamas’s self-exiled leader Ismail Haniyeh over the shortage of basic foods.

“Where are you Haniyeh?” Barbakh asked, saying a carton of eggs has risen tenfold in price “and it’s not even available.”

Blinken toured the region to bolster truce talks in Qatar, where mediators are aiming to secure a deal likely to involve militants freeing hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody and the delivery of more relief supplies.

The top US diplomat accused China and Russia of “cynically” blocking Washington’s Security Council resolution, which linked a truce to the release of hostages.

Russia and China, along with Arab nations, said the US text was too soft on Israel and diplomatic sources said a tougher resolution was expected to be put to a vote in New York on Monday.


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