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UNRWA concerns over massive human, material losses in Gaza

English.news.cn   2014-07-16 08:12:32

GENEVA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) expressed grave concerns here on Tuesday over the immense human losses and destructions resulting from ongoing military offensive in Gaza strip.

Sami Mshasha, UNRWA spokesman, told a press conference by telephone that the eight-day-old assault in Gaza has completely destroyed at least 560 homes, and meanwhile claimed over 174 lives and caused more than 1000 injured, adding that the number would increase by hour.

He particularly stressed that a good number of those killed and injured were women and children, which was of great concern for his agency.

Latest data from UNRWA showed that 17,000 people have sought refugees in 20 schools in Gaza City and the North Area operated by UNRWA as temporary shelters.

Mshasha said that people sought refuge in UNRWA installations because these were marked as UN buildings, and people feel a sense of safety and security when they come to it, but in the military offensives in 2008, some of the UN buildings fell into targets and some refugees inside got injured, therefore he urged parties of conflict to respect the UN buildings and protect civilians from harms.

Mshasha worried that a failure to carry out the ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt might result in the launching of a ground offensive by Israeli army and lead to more civilian deaths and severer infrastructures destructions.

Israel launched the "Operation Protective Edge" on July 8, and has dropped hundreds of tons of bombs into Hamas-controlled Gaza from air, land and sea, while Hamas and other Palestinian groups fired almost 1,000 rockets at Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel's security cabinet agreed to an Egyptian cease-fire proposal, which aims to put an end to the military operation.

According to the Egyptian proposal, the cease-fire would start at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday (0600 GMT) and last for 48 hours, after which both parties' officials will discuss the understandings reached in November 2012 after operation Pillar of Defense.

Hamas announced on its website the cease-fire agreement is a "surrender" agreement and insisted that Israel should release 56 Palestinians affiliated with the organization, who were arrested in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank last month, following the kidnap and killing of three Israeli teens.

The Israeli army resumed air strikes later on Tuesday against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after hours of "unilateral attacks by Hamas", said the statement by Israeli army which confirmed its renewed attacks.

Editor: An
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