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October 10, 2023 6:42 PM IST

As Israeli strikes hit Gaza, U.N. says sieges ‘prohibited’ under humanitarian law

UN | Israel | West Bank | Gaza | Palestine | United Nations humanitarian

The United Nations humanitarian office said on Tuesday (October 10) that nearly 200,000 people or nearly a tenth of the population, have fled their homes in Gaza since the start of hostilities and is poised for shortages of water and electricity due to a blockade.

Israeli air operations have struck residential buildings, including large tower blocks, as well as schools and U.N. buildings across Gaza, resulting in civilian casualties, the United Nations Human Rights chief said, citing information gathered by his office.

The international body reiterated that sieges that deprive civilians of essential resources for survival “is prohibited under international humanitarian law.”

World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said that 13 attacks on health facilities in Gaza had been confirmed by its monitoring service since hostilities began, without giving details.

It was working on a humanitarian corridor for the Gaza strip, but stores of medical supplies had already run out, he said.

“International humanitarian law is clear: the obligation to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects remains applicable throughout the attacks,” Volker Turk said in a statement.

Such acts may amount to a war crime, U.N. Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani later clarified in a Geneva press briefing. The U.N. rights office’s findings were based on a review of available material, including from its own monitors on the ground, she said.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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