As many as 136 UN workers have lost their lives in the last 75 days in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas while several employees of the world body have been forced out of their homes, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said.
Antonio Guterres said that no one has ever seen such a number of casualties of the UN staff in the history of the world organisation.
“136 of our colleagues in Gaza have been killed in 75 days–something we have never seen in @UN history. Most of our staff have been forced from their homes,” the UN Chief wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
“I pay tribute to them and the thousands of aid workers risking their lives as they support civilians in Gaza,” he added.
136 of our colleagues in Gaza have been killed in 75 days – something we have never seen in @UN history.
Most of our staff have been forced from their homes.
I pay tribute to them & the thousands of aid workers risking their lives as they support civilians in Gaza.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 23, 2023
The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas, where about 2,500 terrorists breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, leading to casualties and the seizure of hostages.
Israel has characterised its Gaza offensive as targeting Hamas’ infrastructure to eliminate the entire terror group while making efforts to minimise civilian casualties.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that it had established full “operational control” over Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighbourhood, which witnessed fierce fighting during the ground offensive against Hamas, The Times of Israel reported.
In a statement, the IDF said the 36th Division has completed dismantling Hamas’ “core capabilities” in Shejaiya. The IDF further said troops will continue to carry out limited operations in the neighbourhood to destroy Hamas infrastructure and kill any operatives still hiding.
According to the IDF, dozens of tunnel shafts found in homes, schools, health clinics and weapons were destroyed. The IDF said troops of the Golani Brigade raided the homes of senior Hamas members and seized intelligence materials in Shejaiya.
Earlier, the IDF announced that it had expanded its ground operations in the central Gaza Strip, with the 99th Division conducting an operation in areas south of Gaza City.
The IDF said the 99th Division manoeuvred into new areas of central Gaza to have “operational control” between Gaza City and the refugee camps in central Gaza.
It said that the division’s 179th Reserve Armoured Brigade and 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade killed members of Hamas’s Nuseirat battalion and destroyed the infrastructure of Hamas, including tunnels and weapon depots.
(with inputs from ANI)