United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the Middle East is “on the brink of an abyss.” The Islamic-militant group Hamas The hostages should be released immediately. The UN says humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip is urgently needed.
“For Hamas, the hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally. For Israel, swift and unfettered access to humanitarian aid must be granted for the benefit of the civilians in Gaza,” Guterres said in a statement.
“Each of these two objectives are valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips, they should be implemented because it is the right thing to do.”
“Gaza has run out of water, electricity and other essentials,” he added.
Guterres said the UN has food, water, non-food items, medical supplies and fuel in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, all hospitals across the Gaza Strip are on the verge of running out of fuel reserves as the clock ticks down to 24 hours. This means thousands of patients are at risk, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday.
Gaza’s coastal region is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with about 2.2 million people living in an area of about 45 square kilometers.
Israel has been bombarding the area since the terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7th. Hamas has abducted and held approximately 130 Israelis and other foreigners in Gaza during terrorist attacks.