UN envoy warns Gaza is imploding, economy in freefall

Palestinian protesters carry a youth injured by Israeli forces at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city, on October 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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UN envoy warns Gaza is imploding, economy in freefall

  • Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council a day after Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip
  • Every second person in Gaza now lives below the poverty line, he said

UN, New York: With its economy in a freefall and tensions rising with Israel, the Hamas-ruled enclave of Gaza is imploding, the UN envoy for the Middle East warned Thursday.
Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council a day after Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation at rocket firings from the Palestinian territory.
“Gaza is imploding. This is not hyperbole. This is not alarmism. It is a reality,” Mladenov told the council.
He cited World Bank figures showing official unemployment at 53 percent, with more than 70 percent of Palestinian youths jobless.
Every second person in Gaza now lives below the poverty line, he said.
Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for a decade, on Thursday pledged to launch an investigation into the rocket fire after denying any involvement in the attack, but Israel rejected the denials.
“We remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent,” said Mladenov.
The United Nations has made some headway in joint efforts with Egypt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but Mladenov warned this could collapse.
“Barring substantial steps to reverse the current course, this precarious sense of calm is doomed to give way under the mounting pressure. It is already beginning to fray,” he said.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008.


Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

Updated 17 November 2018
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Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

  • Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border
  • Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters

BEIRUT: Air strikes by the US-led coalition Saturday killed 43 people, mostly civilians, in a Daesh holdout in eastern Syria, a Britain-based monitor said.
Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters, it said.
The US-led coalition has been backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to expel the extremists from the pocket around Abu Husn.
"It's the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket" in September, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition has repeatedly said it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
"The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP this week.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
The coalition has since 2014 acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.