Egypt, UN Agree on Need for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace (Egyptian Presidency)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace (Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt, UN Agree on Need for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace (Egyptian Presidency)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace (Egyptian Presidency)

Egypt and the UN on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the exchange of captives, and the delivery of sufficient humanitarian aid to relieve those afflicted in the Gaza Strip, where famine besieges entire people, according to Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is currently visiting Cairo.

On Saturday, the UN Chief visited a number of wounded Palestinians receiving treatment in Al Arish General Hospital, in addition to the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing.

During his visit, Guterres held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace.

The meeting addressed many international and regional issues, with emphasis on developments in the Gaza Strip. It was attended by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service Major General Abbas Kamel, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini and UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova.

Presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said views were aligned on the gravity of the situation and the need to avoid fueling factors that could widen the scope of the conflict.

Both sides completely and categorically rejected the displacement of Palestinians from their lands, also rejecting and warning against any military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, given its catastrophic consequences on the already dire situation.

Sisi and Guterres emphasized the inevitability of the two-state solution as the only path to achieve justice, security, and stability in the region, and the need to create conditions conducive for its implementation.

During the meeting, the Egyptian President appreciated the positions of the UN Secretary-General on the ongoing crisis, his keenness to adhere to the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, and his continued activity to urge the international community to act to end the war and protect civilians.

Sisi then stressed that it was important for the Security Council to assume its responsibilities in that regard and emphasized the danger of the suspension of funding by some countries to UNRWA, which is considered collective punishment of innocent Palestinians.

An Egyptian statement said Guterres expressed his great appreciation for Egypt's regional role as a pillar for stability, praising its efforts to advance a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, as well as its commitment to keeping the Rafah border crossing open continuously over the past months since the start of the current crisis.

The UN chief referred to his visit to the Rafah crossing on Saturday and praised the huge Egyptian effort for leading and operating the process of delivering aid to the people of Gaza, despite the severe obstacles and difficulties.

He reiterated the importance of a ceasefire for humanitarian purposes to enable the delivery and effective distribution of aid to the people of the Gaza Strip.

Later during a joint press conference with Shoukry, Guterres said that delivering the necessary aid to famine-threatened Gaza “requires Israel removing the remaining obstacles and chokepoints to relief.”

He explained that the only effective and efficient way to deliver heavy goods to meet Gaza's humanitarian needs is by road and includes an exponential increase in commercial deliveries.

“Sending in large quantities of aid requires Israel to remove the remaining obstacles and choke points to relief,” Guterres said.

He issued a renewed plea for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza from Rafah, where about 1.5 million internally displaced Palestinians reside.

Guterres said the United Nations was working hard to sustain funding for its agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which he called the backbone for humanitarian aid inside Gaza.

Shoukry called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of detainees, stressing the need for more humanitarian aid to be brought into the Gaza Strip. “We have exchanged views with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on the ceasefire in Gaza and the introduction of aid,” he said.



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.