Israeli strikes on Gaza continue as UN calls for more aidon December 23, 2023 at 4:47 am

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An overnight air strike reportedly kills 18 in one refugee camp while another is told to evacuate.

The mother of one of the Palestinians from the Barbakh family, who died during Israeli air strikes in the southern Gaza Strip, mourns outside Nasser Hospital in Khan YounisImage source, EPA

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued late into the night on Friday, with reports of sustained air strikes and ground attacks.

A strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed at least 18 people, according to Palestinian media.

People in another camp, Bureij, were ordered by Israel’s army to move south as it continued its ground offensive.

In New York, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution urging more humanitarian aid for Gaza.

However the motion fell short of calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war.

Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, said at least 18 people died and dozens were injured in an air strike on a house in Nuseirat, in central Gaza.

An air strike also destroyed a water treatment plant in Jabalia, northern Gaza, it added.

Residents of Bureij, which is close to Nuseirat, were ordered to “leave immediately for their own security” and move south towards the city of Deir al-Balah.

“Where should we go to?” Ziad, a medic and father of six, told Reuters news agency by phone. “There is no safe place.”

Another displaced person, wheelchair user Walaa al-Medini, said she had been injured in a strike on her home in Gaza City.

“This is not a life: no water, no food, nothing,” she told AFP news agency.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said air strikes had been conducted near its Al-Amal Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis.

Doctors Without Borders said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that Israel’s “indiscriminate strikes” on Gaza had “turned the north of the Strip into a pile of rubble”.

It added that in Al-Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, “the dead and wounded continue to arrive almost every day”.

The UN’s World Food Programme says that about a quarter of all households in Gaza – roughly 500,000 people – are facing “catastrophic hunger conditions”, with food and water running out.

Israel began its offensive after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into Israel on 7 October, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and 50,000 injured in the Gaza Strip since then, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

Israel’s military has expressed regret for the killing of civilians but has blamed Hamas for operating in densely populated areas or using civilians as human shields, which the group denies.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution that aimed to introduce “extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” throughout Gaza.

The vote followed days of negotiations to avoid a veto by Israel’s key ally the US.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Image source, Reuters

The US and Russia abstained, while the 13 other members of the council – including the UK, which had previously abstained on a similar resolution – backed the text that now calls for creating conditions “for a sustainable cessation of hostilities”.

The resolution demanded that parties “allow, facilitate and enable the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian population throughout the Gaza Strip”.

The resolution calls for the appointment of a co-ordinator to oversee a UN mechanism that will be set up with the goal of speeding up the distribution of aid.

Reacting to the resolution, Hamas criticised what it said was an “insufficient step” to meet the humanitarian needs of people in Gaza, and accused the US of working hard to “empty this resolution of its essence”.

The resolution calls for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” – and the Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm Daniel Hagari urged the international community and international organisations to enforce it.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said “the way Israel is conducting this offensive” was creating “massive obstacles” to the distribution of aid in Gaza.

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