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UN chief urges lifeline for Gazans, Israel continues to confront Hezbollah in north front


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Jerusalem: During a visit to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. He stressed that it is a matter of life and death for millions of Gazans.

Standing at the Rafah crossing, where approximately 175 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, medical supplies, food, and blankets were lined up, waiting for entry into Gaza but blocked by Israel, the UN chief said the humanitarian aid is “the difference between life or death” for many Gazans.

“We absolutely need to have these trucks moving as quickly as possible and as many as necessary,” the UN chief said, adding that there needed to be trucks entering “every day into Gaza to provide enough support for the Gazan people.”

Earlier in the day, Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that relevant parties are nearing an agreement on the modalities of the aid operation, and the first delivery is due to start in the coming days, according to a UN press release.

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, firing thousands of rockets and infiltrating Israeli territory, to which Israel responded with massive airstrikes and punitive measures, including a siege on the enclave with supplies of water, electricity, fuel, and other necessities being cut off.

The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, now in its 14th day, has killed more than 5,000 people on both sides and left many others in an acute humanitarian crisis.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Friday morning that they had struck more than 100 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, including an underground tunnel, a weapon warehouse, and dozens of command centers.

On another front, the confrontation between the Israeli military and Hezbollah continues. The frequent rocket and missile exchanges prompted Israel to evacuate Kiryat Shmona, a northern Israeli city bordering Lebanon on Friday.

Meanwhile, a government official in Yemen told Xinhua on Friday that the Houthi rebel group launched several missiles and explosive-laden drones on Thursday from Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah Province toward the Red Sea.

Also on Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Carney intercepted three cruise missiles and multiple drones launched by the Houthis from Yemen.

Yemeni military officials indicated that the Houthi group may launch missiles and drones toward the Red Sea in an attempt to open a new front against U.S. allies in the region. Earlier this month, Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi threatened in a televised speech to bomb Israel if the U.S. intervenes directly in Israel’s ongoing conflict with Gaza.

In response to the missile attack, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Friday that “Israel is ready for threats like these and has some of the best air defenses in the world.”

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