UN expresses concern over escalation of violence in Gaza Strip

TEHRAN, May 05 (MNA) – The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he is “deeply concerned” by yet another dangerous escalation in Gaza and the tragic loss of lives of Palestinians.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of all those who were killed, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” said the coordinator.

A fresh flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip caused by deadly Israeli airstrikes and retaliatory Palestinian rocket attacks has entered its third day, prompting the United Nations to raise alarm at the “dangerous escalation.”

Tensions erupted on Friday following the killing of four Palestinians, two in an Israeli air raid on southern Gaza and two during the regime’s live fire at anti-occupation protesters near a fence separating the blockaded coastal enclave from the occupied territories.

According to news reports, some 430 rockets have been fired from Gaza strip to Israeli regime’s positions in past two days in retaliation. The Israeli army says its warplanes have targeted some 180 sites in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli attacks have claimed the lives of a total of seven Palestinians, including Saba Mahmoud Abu Arar, a 14-month-old baby girl, and her 8-month pregnant mother.

In a statement released a few hours after the escalation of violence began, Mladenov said that the UN is “working with Egypt and all sides to calm the situation” and “called on all parties to “immediately de-escalate and return to the understandings of the past few months.”

“Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all,” he stressed, referring to a fragile Egypt-brokered and UN-backed ceasefire recently agreed upon.

Mladenov added that “continuing down the current path of escalation will quickly undo what has been achieved and destroy the chances for long term solutions to the crisis. This endless cycle of violence must end, and efforts must accelerate to realize a political solution to the crisis in Gaza.”

He further stressed that “the current violence jeopardizes the significant progress made in recent weeks to relieve the suffering of people in Gaza, lift the closures, and support intra-Palestinian reconciliation.”

Against a backdrop of longstanding shortages of basic goods and services in Gaza linked to a more than decade-long air, sea and land blockade by the occupying regime, Palestinian protests began over a year ago in the Strip. In an ongoing cycle of violence, in over a year, close to 200 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 40 children and over 1300 have been injured.

MNA/IRN83302921/PR

News Code 144876

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