No let-up in Gaza war despite UNSC ceasefire resolution

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 3/27/2024 5:49:31 AM

Israeli troops battled Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, with no sign of a let-up in the war despite a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution demanding an "immediate ceasefire."

The resolution was adopted on Monday after Israel's closest ally the United States abstained amid growing concern for the worsening humanitarian situation after nearly six months of war.

The text demands an "immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, leading to a "lasting" truce.

It also demands that Hamas and other fighters free hostages they took during the unprecedented October 7 resistance campaign on Israel, though it does not directly link the release to a truce.

In Gaza, there was intense fighting overnight, with Israeli operations in and around at least three major hospitals in the besieged territory.

The Israeli military said its jets had struck more than 60 targets in Gaza in the past day, including tunnels, infrastructure and military structures "in which armed terrorists were identified."

The health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said 70 people were killed on Tuesday, 13 of them in Israeli air strikes around the southern city of Rafah. The Israeli military said air raid sirens sounded in areas near the Gaza border.

The UNSC resolution was the first since the Gaza war erupted to demand an immediate halt in the fighting. After the vote, UN chief Antonio Guterres led calls for the resolution to be implemented. "Failure would be unforgivable," he said on social media platform X.

Israel reacted furiously to the US abstention, while Washington insisted that it did not mark a shift in policy, although it has taken a tougher line with Israel in recent weeks.

The United States had previously vetoed successive draft resolutions calling for a ceasefire, but it has become increasingly concerned by the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned of famine in the north by May if urgent action isn't taken.

The Gaza health ministry said seven people had drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach aid airdropped into the territory.

Washington has also baulked at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin's determination to launch an assault on Rafah, the last major population centre still untouched by Israeli ground troops where most of Gaza's population has sought refuge from the fighting.

In protest at the United States' abstention in the UN vote, which it said "hurts" both its war effort and attempts to release hostages, Israel cancelled a planned visit to Washington by a high-ranking delegation.

Israel's retaliatory campaign against Hamas has killed at least 32,333 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry.

Shining BD