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War in Gaza: 20 dead and 45 injured after attack on ICRC office

War in Gaza: 20 dead and 45 injured after attack on ICRC office
War in Gaza: 20 dead and 45 injured after attack on ICRC office

The conflict in the Middle East continues to escalate: in the Gaza Strip, several people are killed by a rocket attack on a humanitarian facility. And in Lebanon, a larger conflict with Hezbollah is looming.

According to the organization, more than 20 people were killed in a grenade attack near the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Gaza Strip. “On Friday afternoon, heavy-caliber shells hit the immediate vicinity of the office and residential buildings of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the ICRC said on the online service X.

“This incident triggered a massive influx of victims to the nearby Red Cross field hospital,” the organization added. There, 22 dead and 45 injured were recorded. There are reports of further casualties.

Hundreds of displaced people are living in tents in the area surrounding the ICRC office. Attacks in “dangerous proximity to humanitarian facilities endanger the lives of civilians and Red Cross workers,” the organization wrote. The locations are known to the conflicting parties and are also “clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem.”

Israel rejects allegations

“This serious security incident is one of several in recent days,” it continues. “Stray bullets have already hit ICRC sites before.” The organization has repeatedly called on Israel and the radical Islamist Hamas to protect civilians in light of the war in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-controlled health ministry in the Gaza Strip reported 25 deaths and 50 injuries in the attack. The Israeli army attacked “tents of displaced people in the area of ​​Al-Masawi.” The ICRC’s office is located in the town near Rafah.

An Israeli army spokesman said there was “no evidence that the army carried out an attack in the humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi.” The incident was being investigated.

The town of Al-Mawasi is located a few kilometers northeast of Rafah. The town, which borders Egypt, has been the focus of an Israeli military offensive since the beginning of May. Israel wants to destroy the last Hamas battalions there. Around a million people had sought shelter there in a very small area from fighting in other parts of the Gaza Strip. When the Israeli ground offensive began, they fled again. Many came to Al-Mawasi, where, according to aid organizations, there is a lack of accommodation, sanitary facilities, water and food. Eyewitnesses reported on Friday that Israeli tank shells had hit the tent camp there completely unexpectedly. These reports could not be independently verified.

The war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the major Hamas attack on Israel, in which Islamist fighters killed 1,194 people and took 251 hostage to the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli sources. In response, Israel has since taken massive military action in the Gaza Strip. According to figures from the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 37,430 people have been killed so far.

UN Secretary General: Lebanon must not become a second Gaza

Meanwhile, there was renewed mutual shooting on Israel’s border with Lebanon on Friday. In response to repeated attacks on areas in northern Israel, the Israeli army said it carried out air strikes against several positions of the pro-Iranian Shiite militia Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the military announced in the evening. Previously, attacks from Lebanon had taken place on areas in northern Israel. There were no reports of injuries, it said. The information could not initially be independently verified. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, there have been daily military confrontations between the Israeli army and Hezbollah in the border area between Israel and Lebanon. There have been deaths on both sides.

“One ill-considered act – one miscalculation – could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the borders and, frankly, beyond the imagination,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Friday in New York. People in the region and around the world “cannot afford for Lebanon to become another Gaza,” he said.

The danger of an expansion is “real” and must be avoided. The mutual shelling has already caused severe destruction in towns on both sides of the border. Around 150,000 people have been evacuated or left the combat zone. Hezbollah is allied with Hamas, but is considered to be significantly more powerful.

Israel wants to use military and diplomatic pressure to force the Islamic militia to withdraw behind the Litani River, 30 kilometers from the border – as required by UN Resolution 1701. “The parties must urgently return to the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and immediately move to a cessation of hostilities,” Guterres demanded. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) is traveling to Israel and Lebanon for talks next week in light of growing concerns about an escalation of the conflict.

Qatar continues to seek ceasefire between Israel and Gaza

The UN Secretary General complained that there was “total lawlessness” in the Gaza Strip. There were “extreme difficulties in distributing” aid supplies in Gaza, and trucks were being looted. The problem was not just getting aid supplies to Gaza. “There must be a mechanism in place that guarantees a minimum level of law and order so that distribution can take place,” Guterres demanded. The UN chief therefore once again urged an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

According to the mediating state Qatar, there has been some progress in the indirect negotiations. However, there are “still some gaps” between Israel and Hamas, said Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Friday during a visit to Spain. Qatar is continuing its efforts, he said. There have been several meetings with representatives of Hamas. For months, the mediators USA, Qatar and Egypt have been trying to persuade Israel to agree to a ceasefire and Hamas to release the remaining 120 people abducted from Israel – but so far without success.

According to a report by the Israeli news site “Ynet” on Friday evening, Hamas’ foreign chief, Ismail Haniya, reiterated the Islamist organization’s position. They are “open to any negotiation and ceasefire initiative” as long as it meets the demands for “ending the war.” Hamas is sticking to its demands, such as a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, it said. However, Israel has so far strictly rejected an end to the war.

Source: Stern

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