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

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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 Saturday in response to reporters’ questions.

Also Read | Israel bombs Hamas Gaza chief’s home as fighting enters 7th day

The comments came as Israel pummeled 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 Palestinian militants 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 written response to questions on the Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

Also Read | Rocket attack: Funeral of Kerala woman killed in Israel on Sunday

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.

Also Read | Protests break out in major US cities over Israel airstrikes in Gaza

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 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.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.(REUTERS)

Reuters | , Jerusalem

PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2021 11:37 PM IST

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the president for the support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves,” the readout said.

AP journalists and other tenants were safely evacuated from the 12-story al-Jalaa tower after the Israeli military warned of an imminent strike on Saturday.(AFP)
AP journalists and other tenants were safely evacuated from the 12-story al-Jalaa tower after the Israeli military warned of an imminent strike on Saturday.(AFP)

AP | , New York

PUBLISHED ON MAY 16, 2021 03:52 AM IST

In a standard Israeli response, the military said that Hamas was operating inside the building, and it accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields. But it provided no evidence to back up the claims.

Palestinian journalists cover the destroyed Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip.(AFP)
Palestinian journalists cover the destroyed Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip.(AFP)

Agencies | , Gaza/jerusalem

PUBLISHED ON MAY 16, 2021 02:47 AM IST

  • Israel’s military brought down a 12-storey block in Gaza City that housed the Associated Press and Qatar-based Al Jazeera media operations, as well as other offices and apartments.
It was the first phone call between the two leaders since Biden took office in January.(AP)
It was the first phone call between the two leaders since Biden took office in January.(AP)

Reuters | | Posted by Kunal Gaurav, Ramallah, West Bank

UPDATED ON MAY 15, 2021 11:01 PM IST

The conversation between Abbas and US President Joe Biden came amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

AP |

PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2021 02:08 PM IST

The vaguely worded statement set off frenzied speculation that Israel had launched a ground invasion of Gaza — a much-feared scenario that would mark a bloody escalation of this week’s operation against Hamas militants. Some reporters were even told outright the incursion had begun.

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