UN urges Israel to silence the guns, allow humanitarian operation in Gaza

Iranian president says genocide is unfolding in Gaza as Israel-Hamas war enters third month

GENEVA/MOSCOW/GAZA  -  The UN’s humanitarian coor­dinator says there is no lon­ger any humanitarian op­eration worthy of the name in southern Gaza. Speak­ing in Geneva, Martin Grif­fiths said that the pace of the military assault in the south of the Gaza Strip replicated what had been seen in the north, meaning there was no safe space for aid agencies to work. He said that while aid agencies remained in Gaza, and would not abandon its people, they had no sense of clarity, no abil­ity to plan, and no sense of “where this will end.”

Griffiths gave one small note of hope; he said there had been discussions with Israel about opening the Ker­em Shalom crossing to allow more humanitar­ian aid into Gaza.

But aid agencies at the moment are unable to move much beyond Rafah, and Griffiths said that any deliveries within Gaza were pure­ly “opportunistic, errat­ic, undependable and unsustainable”, relying on finding, at short no­tice, a road that was not blocked or mined. 

The only serious solu­tion, he insisted, was “to silence the guns.” Also, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi alleges that Western nations are supporting a “geno­cide” in the Gaza Strip, in reference to Israel’s bombardment of the besieged Palestinian en­clave, according to Re­uters. Speaking during a visit to Moscow, Rai­si said it was necessary for the bombardment to stop “as soon as pos­sible”, and added it was “regretful” that inter­national organisations have not been effective at stopping the violence. 

Iran has been one of Hamas’s chief sponsors over the years, provid­ing both financial assis­tance as well as rockets and other weapons to the Palestinian group. 

Heavy urban combat raged in and around Gaza’s biggest cities Thursday as the blood­iest ever war between Israel and Hamas en­tered its third month since the October 7 at­tacks. Vast areas of the besieged territory have been reduced to a rub­ble-strewn wasteland of bombed-out or bul­let-scarred buildings as the death toll has soared above 16,200 ac­cording to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Israeli forces backed by air power, tanks and armoured bulldozers were fighting Hamas in Khan Yunis, the biggest city in southern Gaza, as well as in Gaza City and the nearby Jabalia dis­trict in the north. Prime Minister Benjamin Net­anyahu said troops had closed in on the Khan Yunis house of Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, 61, and vowed that, al­though he could flee, “it is only a matter of time until we find him”. Air strikes also rained down on Rafah in Gaza’s far south, a city near the Egyptian border that has been turned into a vast camp for many of the 1.9 million internal­ly displaced Palestin­ians. One of those on the move, Khamis Al-Da­lu, told AFP that he had first fled Gaza City and then Khan Yunis for Ra­fah, where his family was now sheltered in a tent against the worsen­ing winter chill.

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