Mon 10 Jun 2024 10:13 pm - Jerusalem Time

Guterres condemns Israel's killing of hundreds of Palestinians to free 4 prisoners in Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned, on Monday, the killing of about 300 Palestinian civilians and the wounding of hundreds by Israeli army gunfire during the operation to free four prisoners in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

This came according to what was reported by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, during a press conference from the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Dujarric said: "The Secretary-General welcomed the liberation of 4 Israeli prisoners, but expressed his deep regret and condemnation of the killing of about 300 Palestinian civilians and the injury of hundreds of others during the operation."

Citing information obtained from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the ground, Dujarric said that hospitals in the region were overwhelmed after the Israeli operation.

He conveyed Guterres' assertion that "the best way to return the Israeli detainees is to negotiate and return to a horizon conducive to a two-state solution."

Dujarric stressed the importance of “maximizing the protection of civilians in Gaza,” and that “every loss of life is considered tragic.”

He explained that the United Nations demands "the necessity of working on this in accordance with what is guaranteed by international humanitarian law," stressing that it is not a subject of discussion "even if prisoners are detained in places containing civilians."

In response to a question from Anadolu Agency about reports of Israeli soldiers entering the camp with aid trucks during the operation, Dujarric said that they did not have specific information regarding these reports.

On Saturday, 274 Palestinians were killed and more than 698 others were injured in a massacre committed by Israeli forces after a violent artillery and air strike targeting the Nuseirat camp in Gaza, according to what was announced by the government media office in Gaza, which caused a widespread wave of condemnation.

This came during the Israeli army's release of 4 civilian detainees who were in the hands of Hamas, while the "Al-Qassam Brigades", the movement's military wing, announced that the bombing, which resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinians, also led to the death of 3 Israeli prisoners.

Dujarric spoke about the difficulties facing humanitarian teams in introducing relief aid that is increasingly needed in the Strip as the Israeli war continues.

He said that the battles inside the Gaza Strip prevent the continued entry of aid through land crossings, pointing to the fears of humanitarian workers for their safety and the great risk that accompanies them while performing their relief duty due to the Israeli war.

He stressed the need to respect the independence of humanitarian operations and relief workers around the world, and said: “We do not surround ourselves with armed guards or members of the communities themselves, and we very much hope that this will continue.”

On the other hand, Dujarric confirmed Guterres' support for a draft resolution for a three-stage ceasefire plan in Gaza, which the Security Council will vote on on Sunday evening, local time in New York.

He said: “We will make every effort to support peace and a ceasefire in Gaza, free the Israeli hostages in the Strip, and restore dignity to the Palestinian people.


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Guterres condemns Israel's killing of hundreds of Palestinians to free 4 prisoners in Gaza