Situation in Gaza remains fragile: UN Mideast envoy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-21 05:43:22|Editor: yan
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, warned on Wednesday that the situation in Gaza remains fragile despite an Egyptian-mediated cessation of hostilities.

"We meet today in the aftermath of the most serious recent escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. Although the immediate crisis was diffused, the situation remains highly volatile," Mladenov told a monthly Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

Following Israel's targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza, Palestinian militants launched more than 500 rockets toward Israel, he said.

While, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 90 percent of the rockets were intercepted, those that landed caused damage to residential and commercial property. Up to 78 Israelis were treated for injuries or shock.

In response to the rocket attacks, the IDF conducted a number of strikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and militant targets in Gaza. A total of 34 Palestinians were killed and 109 others injured. Those killed included eight members of a family, who died in a single Israeli strike.

Although the joint efforts of Egypt and the United Nations managed to restore calm in Gaza after 48 hours of hostilities, the dangers have not passed, he warned.

The arrangements that came into effect in the early hours of Thursday are holding, but sporadic rocket launches have continued, prompting Israeli retaliation, he said.

Mladenov commended Egypt for its extraordinary peace effort. "Had our efforts failed, we would certainly be in the midst of another war that would be far worse than the terrible conflict in 2014."