ICRC chief calls for end to ‘catastrophic’ Gaza suffering

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ICRC chief calls for end to ‘catastrophic’ Gaza suffering
ICRC chief calls for end to ‘catastrophic’ Gaza suffering

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday called on all sides to act to halt the intolerable human suffering of civilians in the Gaza Strip. — AFP pic

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Sunday, 29 Oct 2023 12:25 PM MYT

GENEVA, Oct 29 — The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday called on all sides to act to halt the “intolerable” human suffering of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

“This is a catastrophic failing that the world must not tolerate,” said Mirjana Spoljaric, as Israel declared its war on Hamas had “entered a new phase” with its massive bombardment of Gaza.

“I am shocked by the intolerable level of human suffering and urge the parties to the conflict to de-escalate now,” she said.

“The tragic loss of so many civilian lives is deplorable.

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“It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza amid the massive bombardments, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.”

Spoljaric was speaking hours after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sharply criticised the “unprecedented escalation” of bombardments on Gaza, and called for an “immediate” ceasefire.

The Israeli army on Saturday warned residents of Gaza City, in the north of Gaza, that the area was now a “battlefield”, ordering them to “evacuate immediately” to the south.

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Israel unleashed a massive bombing campaign after Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seizing more than 220 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said Israeli strikes had since killed more than 8,000 people, mainly civilians, with half of them children.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk warned on Saturday there was the potential for thousands more civilians to die if Israel presses a major ground offensive in Gaza.

The conflict is the fifth and deadliest in Gaza since Israel unilaterally withdrew troops and settlers from the Palestinian territory in 2005. — AFP

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