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UN chief surprised by escalation of Israel’s bombardment

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday he was surprised by Israel’s escalation of the bombardments in Gaza and repeated a call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire for the delivery of aid.

“I was encouraged in the last days by what seemed to be a growing consensus in the international community … for the need of at least a humanitarian pause in the fighting,” Guterres said in a statement.

“Regrettably, instead of the pause, I was surprised by an unprecedented escalation of the bombardments and their devastating impacts, undermining the referred humanitarian objectives,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdogan addressed hundreds of thousands of supporters at one of the largest pro-Palestinian rallies since the Israel-Hamas war began.

“Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days, but the Western leaders cannot even call on Israel for a ceasefire, let alone react to it,” Erdogan told the crowd in Istanbul, who waved Palestinian flags.

“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” he said.

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