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Israel warned by United Nations over Gaza killings

The United Nations called on Israel to avoid escalating the situation in the Gaza Strip on Saturday following the recent devastating bombing raids on the besieged coastal enclave.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres issued a warning on Saturday after Israeli warplanes struck dozens of sites it claimed were held by Hamas during an operation on Friday.

"Israel must exercise restraint to avoid further inflaming the situation.

"I am gravely concerned over the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel,” Mr Guterres said.

Tel Aviv claimed it was retaliating after one of its soldiers was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper on Friday at Gaza’s border fence illegally erected by Israel.

Explosions occurred across Gaza City during night raids just hours after a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and Egypt was announced.

At least four Palestinians are known to have been killed in the bombing raids. Mr Guterres appealed for calm and co-operation with the United Nations in finding a peaceful solution to the “humanitarian crisis” facing Gaza.

UN special coordinator in the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov urged Israel and Palestine to “step back from the brink,” fearing a dangerous escalation of hostilities.

Mr Guterres said: "It is imperative that all sides urgently step back from the brink of another devastating conflict.”

Israel confirmed today that it had evacuated 800 members of the controversial pseudo-humanitarian aid group the White Helmets from Syria to Jordan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said: “Upon request of the US, Canada and European states, Israel has completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organisation, White Helmets, and families.

“They were evacuated from the warzone in southern Syria to a neighbouring country.”

Jordan acknowledged they had been granted temporary asylum on “humanitarian grounds” before they are settled in the West.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad al-Kayed said that Britain, Canada and Germany had each reportedly promised to accept members of the White Helmets fleeing what they described as “potential persecution” by Damascus.

Israel has been criticised for its refusal to offer assistance to Syrian refugees however the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said it had rescued civilians from southern Syria “due to an immediate threat to their lives” in “an exceptional humanitarian gesture.”


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