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UN chief says it's time to 'truly flood' Gaza with aid, calls for ceasefire

24 March 2024 11:59 (UTC+04:00)
UN chief says it's time to 'truly flood' Gaza with aid, calls for ceasefire

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stood near a long line of waiting trucks Saturday and declared it was time to “truly flood Gaza with lifesaving aid," calling the starvation inside the enclave a “moral outrage.” He urged an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Azernews reports, citing Hurriyyet.

Guterres spoke on the Egyptian side of the border not far from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israel plans to launch a ground assault despite widespread warnings of a potential catastrophe. More than half of Gaza's population has taken refuge there.

“Any further onslaught will make things even worse — worse for Palestinian civilians, worse for hostages and worse for all people in the region," Guterres said.

He spoke a day after the U.N. Security Council failed to reach consensus on the wording of a U.S.-sponsored resolution supporting “an immediate and sustained cease-fire.”

Guterres repeatedly noted the difficulties of getting aid into Gaza, for which international aid agencies have largely blamed Israel.

“Here from this crossing, we see the heartbreak and heartlessness … a long line of blocked relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other,” he said.

About 7,000 aid trucks are waiting in Egypt's North Sinai province to enter Gaza, Gov. Mohammed Abdel-Fadeil Shousha said in a statement.

Guterres added: “It is time for an ironclad commitment by Israel for total … access for humanitarian goods to Gaza, and in the Ramadan spirit of compassion, it is also time for the immediate release of all hostages.” He later told journalists that a humanitarian cease-fire and hostage release should occur at the same time.

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