UN chief calls for to 'end bloody cycle of retaliation' in Middle East

UN chief calls for to 'end bloody cycle of retaliation' in Middle East

Antonio Guterres says nearly 250 aid workers killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023, repeating 'call for thorough investigations into these tragic deaths'

By Merve Aydogan

HAMILTON, Canada (AA) - The UN chief on Thursday made a stark warning, urging to halt the dangerous escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

"The Middle East is on a precipice," Antonio Guterres told a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Highlighting the imperative to break the cycle of violence, Guterres urged for immediate action, stressing: "It is high time to end the bloody cycle of retaliation. It is time to stop."

He called upon the international community to unite in preventing any actions that could further destabilize the region, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences for civilians.

Expressing deep concern for safety of humanitarian workers, Guterres emphasized the need for their security, revealing a troubling statistic: "Nearly 250 aid workers, including more than 180 of our own staff, have been killed in Gaza" since Oct. 7, 2023.

He reiterated his demand for thorough investigations into "these tragic deaths."

"Just last week, a UNICEF vehicle travelling with a convoy was caught in crossfire," said the secretary-general.

As tensions continue to rise in the region, Guterres noted the "shared responsibility to address those risks and pull the region back from the precipice."

While Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip continues since last October, when Hamas launched a cross-border incursion; tensions have also risen between Iran and Israel over the former's rocket and missile attack in response to an April 1 strike on its diplomatic mission in Damascus.

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