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United Nations chief is 'appalled' by escalating military activity in Rafah

The U.N. says rocket attacks by Hamas, military operations by Israel and attacks by Israeli settlers on aid trucks bound for Gaza are all hindering the delivery of aid.
Israel Palestinians Nakba Day
Posted at 10:19 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 22:19:24-04

The United Nations chief “is appalled by the escalation of military activity in and around Rafah by the Israeli Defense Forces,” which is further impeding desperately needed aid deliveries and worsening “an already dire situation,” the U.N. says.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also criticized the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas militants, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Tuesday.

“For people in Gaza, nowhere is safe now,” Haq quoted Guterres, who is in Oman, as saying.

“The families being displaced from Rafah are arriving at sites that lack shelter, latrines, and water points,” Haq said. “However, it is impossible to improve the situation at displacement sites if supplies can’t enter Gaza — and if we lack the fuel to transport them inside Gaza to the families who need them.”

The U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, estimated that as of Monday nearly 450,000 people had fled Rafah within the previous week, Haq said. Before the incursion began last week, Rafah was housing some 1.3 million Palestinians, most of whom had fled fighting elsewhere.

Israeli tanks move near the Israeli-Gaza border.

Israel at War

Israel pushes deeper into Rafah and battles a regrouping Hamas in northern Gaza

AP via Scripps News
3:34 PM, May 12, 2024

Guterres called for the immediate reopening of the Rafah crossing from Egypt, a key delivery route for humanitarian supplies and fuel, which the Israeli military took control of last week.

The secretary-general also reiterated his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, the release of all hostages taken during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in Israel, protection for civilians and unimpeded access for aid workers throughout Gaza.

In another setback to the delivery of aid, the U.N. humanitarian office reported that Israeli settlers in the West Bank attacked aid trucks bound for Gaza on Monday.

“The settlers offloaded and vandalized the vehicles at the Tarqumiya checkpoint and near the barrier by Beit ’Awwa” and several trucks were damaged, he said.

Haq said: “Israel must protect against violence by Israeli settlers and ensure that all allegations of settler violence are investigated, and the perpetrators are prosecuted.”