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UN chief calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire, says humanitarian situation 'beyond words'

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike in the central Gaza Strip, on January 10, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

The United Nations secretary general has called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israel's genocidal war for more than three months.

Antonio Guterres made the remarks at a press briefing in New York on Monday, which marked the 101st day of the regime's brutal onslaught.

Israel's ferocious military aggression began on October 7, 2023, after Gaza's resistance groups staged Operation al-Aqsa Storm against the occupied territories.

The Israeli genocide has so far claimed the lives of more than 24,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, leaving thousands of others wounded and millions homeless. According to the world body, the war has displaced roughly 85 percent of the territory's population, forcing them into crowded shelters.

The regime has been also enforcing an all-out siege against Gaza that has prevented the flow of food, water, fuel, and medicine into the territory.

"We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to ensure sufficient aid gets to where it is needed," Guterres said, describing the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as "beyond words."

With aid deliveries struggling to get through to a "traumatized people," Gaza now faces "the long shadow of starvation," he said.

The "vast majority" of the UN's Palestinian staff have fled their homes and 152 staff members have been killed, Guterres said, calling the death toll from the Israeli onslaught "the largest single loss of life in the history of our organization."

"Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," the UN chief stressed.

He said the ceasefire was also required "to tamp down the flames of wider war because the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation."

The Israeli regime has also carried out sporadic attacks against southern Lebanon during the course of its aggression on Gaza, which have sparked a firefight with Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement.

Ever since the beginning of the war in Gaza, Iraqi and Yemeni forces have carried out many operations against targets across the occupied Palestinian territories in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

Guterres warned about what he said was escalating spillover of the conflict, saying, "This risks triggering a broader escalation...and profoundly affecting regional stability."

He added that a ceasefire is also needed in order to "facilitate" the release of Israeli captives in Gaza.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has frequently ruled out any talks on releasing the regime's captives as long as the brutal onslaught on Gaza has not come to a full stop.

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