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UN: Israel has created ‘powder keg’ in Gaza, war could further spill over

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk speaks in an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 4, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has warned that Israel’s savage campaign in Gaza is a “powder keg” that could ignite a wider conflict.

In an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Turk said he was deeply concerned the Israeli hostilities were already threatening neighboring countries.

“The war in Gaza has already generated dangerous spillover in neighboring countries, and I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration.”

The UN official said the circumstances could “have implications for every country” in West Asia and beyond.

Turk underscored using every means available to avoid a wider escalation. He said clashes between the regime and Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah were “extremely worrying.”

Since early October, many countries and international organizations have warned against the spillover.

Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging sporadic fire since October 8, a day after the regime started hostilities in the besieged Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah has repeatedly struck Israeli military bases on the border with the occupied territories over the past few months.

The regime unleashed its war on October 7, 2023 with the stated goal of releasing all of its captives and eliminating the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in Gaza. None of the goals have been achieved.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Turk said the attacks by the Yemeni armed forces in the Red Sea had not only disrupted global maritime trade but also driven up the price of goods.

“There is a serious risk of the conflict extending to Yemen itself, with potentially severe harm to Yemen’s people, already suffering from the humanitarian crisis generated by a decade of war.”

The United States and Britain have conducted several airstrikes on Yemeni targets in the recent past.

Yemen’s military has been targeting Israeli ships and those bound for Israeli ports since November 2023 in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

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