UN secretary general says he is 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strikes
Israeli strikes killed 33 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip Sunday, the worst reported daily death toll yet in the almost week-long clashes, as the UN Security Council prepared to meet amid global alarm at the escalating conflict.
The heaviest fighting since 2014, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, saw the rivals again trade heavy fire, with the death toll rising to 181 in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza since Monday and at 10 in Israel, according to authorities on either side.
Israel said Sunday morning its “continuing wave of strikes” had in the past 24 hours struck over 90 targets across Gaza, where the destruction of a building housing news media organisations sparked an international outcry.
In Gaza, emergency teams worked to pull out bodies from vast piles of smoking rubble and toppled buildings, as relatives wailed in horror and grief.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “dismayed” by civilian casualties in Gaza and “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s strike on Saturday on the tower housing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera bureaus, a spokesperson said.
Israel’s army said Sunday that about 3,000 rockets had been fired from the coastal strip towards Israel, the highest rate ever recorded, of which about 450 failed launches fell in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted over a thousand rockets, the army said, in almost a week during which Israeli residential buildings have been hit, with over 500 people wounded.
“The intensity of the conflict is something we have not seen before, with non-stop airstrikes in densely populated Gaza and rockets reaching big cities in Israel,” said the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“As a result, children are dying on both sides.”
Pope Francis said the violence risked degenerating further “into a spiral of death and destruction” and said: “Where will hatred and revenge lead? Do we really think we will build peace by destroying the other?”