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Israel-Gaza war: UN chief accuses Israeli forces of creating obstacles for aid after Security Council vote

20,000 Palestinians have been killed as the death toll reaches a new grim milestone

Athena Stavrou,Lydia Patrick
Saturday 23 December 2023 15:41 GMT
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UN Security Council approves aid for Gaza, stops short of call for ceasefire

The head of the United Nations has accused Israel of creating “massive obstacles” to aid distribution within Gaza after the UN Security Council has called for more humanitarian assistance within the battered enclave.

António Guterres took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express his concerns about the conduct of Israeli forces which he says is escalating the humanitarian crisis.

He said: “The way Israel is conducting this offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza.

“An effective aid operation in Gaza requires security; staff who can work in safety; logistical capacity; and the resumption of commercial activity. “

It comes as the United Nations Security Council voted in favour of boosting humanitarian to the Gaza Strip and called for urgent steps “to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities” on Friday.

Although the US did ultimately abstain, the 15-member council was able to adopt the resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates as 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict.

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Stay tuned for the latest news and analysis.

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 15:41
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Israeli strikes kill ‘76 from one family’

An Israeli air strike has killed 76 members of an extended family in the Gaza Strip, rescue officials said.

The attack came a day after the UN chief warned again that nowhere is safe in Gaza and that Israel’s offensive is creating “massive obstacles” to the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Friday’s strike on a building in Gaza City was among the deadliest of the Israel-Hamas war, now in its 12th week, said Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for Gaza‘s Civil Defence department.

He provided a partial list of the names of those killed - 16 heads of households from the al-Mughrabi family - and said the dead included women and children.

Among the dead were Issam al-Mughrabi, a veteran employee of the UN Development Programme, his wife and their five children.

“The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all. The UN and civilians in Gaza are not a target,” said Achim Steiner, the head of the agency. “This war must end.”

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 15:00
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Bethlehem prays for Gaza peace: ‘I have never seen a Christmas like this’

Normally at this time of year Bethlehem is full of thosuands visiting one of Christianty’s most holy cities. But Bel Trew finds empty streets, shuttered shops and a central square without its famous Christmas tree. Clerics at the Church of the Holy Nativity – feted as the birthplace of Jesus Christ – say the situation in Gaza makes any form of celebration impossible, and they people need to be united in a message of peace

Bethlehem prays for Gaza peace: ‘I have never seen a Christmas like this’

Normally at this time of year Bethlehem is full of thousands visiting one of Christianty’s most holy cities. But Bel Trew finds empty streets, shuttered shops and a central square without its famous Christmas tree. Church leaders say the situation in Gaza makes any form of celebration impossible — and they need people to be united in a message of peace

Bel Trew23 December 2023 14:00
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Egyptian, Iranian presidents discuss Gaza developments, restoring ties

The presidents of Egypt and Iran discussed recent developments in Gaza and the prospect of restoring diplomatic ties between their two countries in what Iranian state television said on Saturday was their first phone call.

The television said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had called his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The two men met in November for the first time on the sidelines of the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh.

“Raisi said Iran was ready to provide all its capacities to stop the genocide by the Zionist regime and send aid to the Palestinians,” Iranian state TV reported, adding that it was the first time the two presidents had spoken by phone.

Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been fraught in recent decades although the two countries have maintained some diplomatic contacts. Their call follows other moves by countries in the region to east tension in recent months.

Egypt’s Sunni Muslim Arab ally Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim Iran restored diplomatic relations earlier this year while Cairo has mended a rift with Qatar and re-established ties with Turkey.

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 13:03
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Fighting rages in northern Gaza after U.N. stops short of ceasefire call

Israeli forces fought Hamas militants on Saturday in northern Gaza, where it is seeking full control so it can focus on the south, a day after the U.N. Security Council called for more aid for the Palestinian enclave but stopped short of demanding a ceasefire.

Thick smoke hung over the northern town of Jabalia - which is also home to Gaza‘s largest refugee camp - and residents reported persistent aerial bombardment and shelling from Israeli tanks, which they said had moved further into the town.

Hamas’ armed wing Al Qassam Brigades said it was engaged in combat with Israeli forces in the area. It said it had destroyed five Israeli tanks, killing and injuring their crews, after reusing two undetonated missiles launched earlier by Israel. Reuters could not independently verify the report.

A Palestinian man cries next to his killed relative
A Palestinian man cries next to his killed relative (AP)
Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 12:30
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More than 20,000 killed in Gaza as entire population faces food and water crisis

than 20,000 people, a figure that amounts to nearly 1 per cent of the population before Israel’s war against Hamas.

Israel launched its devastating retaliatory campaign following Hamas attacks in Israel on 7 October that left 1,200 people dead and took roughly 240 hostages. Israel’s response has killed roughly one in every 100 people in Gaza. More than two-thirds are women and children.

That scale of death is compounded by an acute hunger crisis, warnings from international aid groups about depleting supplies of clean water and fear of disease, and the mass displacement of roughly 1.9 million people, or 85 per cent of Gaza’s population.

More than half a million people, or one-quarter of Gaza’s population, are starving, according to the United Nations. Nine out of 10 Palestinians are eating less than one meal a day, according to the World Food Programme.

Only nine of its 36 health facilities, all in the south of Gaza, are still partially functioning, according to the World Health Organisation.

Read the full report by Alex Woodward here:

More than 20,000 killed in Gaza as entire population faces food and water crisis

At least 8,000 children are dead following Israel’s siege, according to Gaza’s health ministry

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 11:58
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The children of Gaza

Special Report: One little girl desperately wanted to be a YouTube star. Her brother adored football and his favourite player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Their cousin was a teenage electronics wiz. Since the start of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, more than 7,000 children have been killed in airstrikes, artillery and mortar fire. Often entire families disappeared in an instant. Here are the stories of nine Palestinian children who’ve been killed in the war, as told to Richard Hall and Ariana Baio

More than 7,000 children have been killed in Gaza – here are some of their stories

Special Report: One little girl desperately wanted to be a YouTube star. Her brother adored football and his favourite player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Their cousin was a teenage electronics wiz. Since the start of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, more than 7,000 children have been killed in airstrikes, artillery and mortar fire. Often entire families disappeared in an instant. Here are the stories of nine Palestinian children who’ve been killed in the war, as told to Richard Hall and Ariana Baio

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 11:00
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Israeli strikes kill ‘76 from one family'

An Israeli air strike has killed 76 members of an extended family in the Gaza Strip, rescue officials said.

The attack came a day after the UN chief warned again that nowhere is safe in Gaza and that Israel’s offensive is creating “massive obstacles” to the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Friday’s strike on a building in Gaza City was among the deadliest of the Israel-Hamas war, now in its 12th week, said Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for Gaza‘s Civil Defence department.

He provided a partial list of the names of those killed - 16 heads of households from the al-Mughrabi family - and said the dead included women and children.

Among the dead were Issam al-Mughrabi, a veteran employee of the UN Development Programme, his wife and their five children.

“The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all. The UN and civilians in Gaza are not a target,” said Achim Steiner, the head of the agency. “This war must end.”

More than half a million people in Gaza are starving, according to a report this week from the UN and other agencies.
More than half a million people in Gaza are starving, according to a report this week from the UN and other agencies. (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 10:19
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Over 100 UN workers killed in Gaza

António Guterres shared his condolences on X, saying the high death toll is something the UN have never seen before.

He shared on X: “136 of our colleagues in Gaza have been killed in 75 days – something we have never seen in @UN history. Most of our staff have been forced from their homes. I pay tribute to them & the thousands of aid workers risking their lives as they support civilians in Gaza. “

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 10:00
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UN chief says Israel is creating obstacles for aid into Gaza

As the United Nation’s Security Council voted in favour of boosting humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, the UN chief has spoken out Israeli forces creating obstacles to the provision of humanitarian aid.

António Guterres posted on X:

Lydia Patrick23 December 2023 09:35

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