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Israel to step up Gaza strikes as UN calls for ceasefire

Israel 'to step up' air strikes on Gaza as UN calls for humanitarian ceasefire, further aid access
28 min read
21 October, 2023
Israel late on Saturday said it would step up its strikes on Gaza in a bid to 'pressure' Hamas, following two weeks of relentless bombardment which has killed at least 4,385 Palestinians.
Israel's war on Gaza has been ongoing for two weeks, further killing its population and devastating its infrastructure [Getty]

Israel said it would step up its strikes in Gaza in a means to pressure Hamas, its military spokesperson said, after two weeks of indiscriminate shelling of the enclave which has killed nearly 4,400 people.

Israel has also massed tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks along the Gaza border for a widely anticipated ground invasion.

Gazans have had their homes, hospitals, schools and places of worship relentlessly bombarded since October 7.

Meanwhile, many UN bodies have urged a ceasefire and unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza after 20 trucks carrying a shipment of aid reached the enclave through the Rafah crossing.

"We call for a humanitarian ceasefire, along with immediate, unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza to allow humanitarian actors to reach civilians in need, save lives and prevent further human suffering," the joint statement from the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO said.

Some 20 trucks of desperately needed humanitarian aid entered Gaza on Saturday through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, according to Palestinian security sources and local eyewitnesses.

Security sources said the drivers of the trucks arrived at the Palestinian Rafah border to be emptied of their aid, which will be handed over to the UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

An official from the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip told The New Arab that the aid which came in from Egypt was not enough.

"Such a limited convoy will not be able to change the humanitarian catastrophe that the Gaza Strip is experiencing," Salama Maarouf said.