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UN chief disturbed by Israeli strikes as Palestine death toll mounts to 150

Coronavirus pandemic threatens global peace, security: UN Chief

NEW YORK: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was disappointed by civilian casualties in Gaza and deeply disturbed by Israel’s strike on a building containing international media outlets.

“The Secretary-General is dismayed by the increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, 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 on Saturday said in the written response to questions on the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

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 added.

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

The comments came as Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with airstrikes, 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 Palestinian militants firing back barrages of rockets.

Since Monday Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza have killed 150 people including 41 children and injured another 1,100, health officials say, the worst violence in the region in seven years.

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 defenses have intercepted many rockets.

US Secretary for Israel-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was to hold talks Sunday 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 and plans to stop further losses.

The latest outburst of violence began in Jerusalem and has spread across the region, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities of Israel. There were also widespread Palestinian protests Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.

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