UN chief ‘dismayed’, ‘disturbed’ by Israel strikes on Gaza

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Fire erupts from the Andalus Tower as it is destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, early on May 16, 2021. — AFP pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Fire erupts from the Andalus Tower as it is destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, early on May 16, 2021. — AFP pic

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UNITED NATIONS, May 16 — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “dismayed” by civilian casualties in Gaza and “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s strike on a building containing international media outlets, a spokesman said in a statement released yesterday.

Guterres spoke as Israel pummelled the Gaza Strip with air strikes, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing the 13-floor Gaza building housing Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the Associated Press news agency, with Palestinians firing back barrages of rockets.

“The Secretary-General is dismayed by the increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, including children, as a result of an Israeli airstrike last night in the al-Shati camp in Gaza, purportedly aimed at a Hamas leader,” his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in the statement.

Guterres was “also deeply disturbed by the destruction by an Israeli airstrike today of a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed the offices of several international media organizations as well as residential apartments,” Dujarric continued.

“The Secretary-General reminds all sides that any indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs,” he said.

Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza since Monday have killed 145 people including 41 children, and wounded another 1,100, health officials say, the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Palestinian armed groups have fired at least 2,300 rockets at Israel, killing 10 people, including a child and a soldier, and wounding over 560 Israelis. Israeli air defences have intercepted many rockets.

US Secretary for Israel-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was to hold talks today with Israeli leaders before meeting Palestinian officials to seek a “sustainable calm,” the State Department said.

The UN Security Council was to meet Sunday to discuss the violence. — AFP

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