U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children” while emphasizing demands for a ceasefire on Monday. Per Palestinian health authorities, the death toll from Israeli strikes has exceeded 10,000.
At this time Israel refuses a ceasefire. It claims it is retaliating due to the hostages taken by Hamas during its attack on Israel on Oct. 7, it says strikes will not stop until they are released. Per Reuters, Hamas says it will not free the hostages completely or stop fighting while Gaza is under attack.
“Ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces and continued bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and U.N. facilities – including shelters. No one is safe,” Guterres said during a press conference.
“At the same time, Hamas and other militants use civilians as human shields and continue to launch rockets indiscriminately towards Israel,” he added.
Children are said to be the most impacted with reports indicating casualties directly involving children in Gaza alone are at the highest they have ever been since 2019 in over 20 countries combined.
The health ministry in the Hamas-controlled Gaza said at least 10,022 people have since been killed, including 4,104 children.
“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day,” Guterres said.
Hospitals and other health facilities are being bombed leaving those seeking aid with no options for care.
Guterres said 89 people working with the U.N. Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) were among the dead. UNRWA said five colleagues had been killed in the past 24 hours alone.
“We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now,” an earlier statement by at least 18 U.N. organizations said.