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‘If there is a Hell on Earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza’: UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that: “If there is a Hell on Earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza.”

Guterres called for an “immediate end” to the fighting and said he was “deeply shocked by the continued air and artillery bombardment” by Israeli forces on Gaza.

He added that the “indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas” and other groups towards Israel – which have left 12 dead, including two children – was also “unacceptable”.

Israeli fighter jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding several more as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied calls for a de-escalation.

At least 232 Palestinians, including 64 children, have been killed in 11 days of violence. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday discussed the events in Gaza with Netanyahu, telling the caretaker leader that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire”.

But shortly after Biden’s phone call, Netanyahu said he was “determined” to continue bombarding Gaza until Israel’s “aim is met”.

The UN Security Council’s efforts for a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers remain stalled, meanwhile, with the US continuing to veto action on the issue.

Here are the latest updates:

Biden discusses Gaza bombardment with Egypt’s el-Sisi: White House

US President Joe Biden spoke today with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, with the two leaders discussing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

They agreed that their teams would stay in constant communication towards that end and the two leaders would stay closely in touch.

US defends its widely criticised efforts to broker ceasefire in Gaza

The United States on Thursday defended its efforts to broker a ceasefire in renewed fighting between Israel and Palestinians after Washington found itself isolated at the United Nations over its opposition to any Security Council action.

“We have not been silent,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 193-member UN General Assembly as it met to discuss the violence

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