Gaza: UN denounces Israeli operation to release hostages and their captors

The United Nations declared itself this Tuesday, in Geneva, “deeply shocked” by the impact on civilians of the Israeli hostage release operation and “deeply distressed” with the fact that Palestinian groups continue to hold people kidnapped.

“All these actions, by both parties, could constitute war crimes”, highlighted the spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jeremy Laurence, adding that he does not have independent means to verify the number of 274 civilians killed by Hamas in Gaza, but considers it to be “almost 100% accurate”.

The United Nations human rights office is citing possible war crimes by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in connection with a deadly attack by Israeli forces that freed four hostages at the end of week.

Laurence expressed concern about possible violations of the rules of proportionality, distinction and precaution by Israeli forces in Saturday’s attack on the Nuseirat urban refugee camp.

Palestinian health authorities say at least 274 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children, were killed in the operation.

Laurence stated that Palestinian armed groups holding hostages in densely populated areas are putting the lives of nearby civilians and those of those kidnapped at “increased risk” due to hostilities.

“The way this was carried out was catastrophic, in that civilians – once again – were caught in the middle of this,” added Laurence, referring both to the Israeli military operation and to the conflict of more eight months that began on October 7th.

“The fact that four hostages are now free is clearly good news. These hostages should never have been captured. This is a violation of international humanitarian law. They must be released . All of them. And immediately,” Laurence continued.

“But the way in which the raid was carried out in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution – as defined in the laws of war – for part of the Israeli forces”, highlighted Laurence.

The Office of the High Commissioner “is also deeply concerned about the fact that Palestinian armed groups continue to hold numerous hostages, most of them civilians, which is prohibited by international humanitarian law”, he stressed Laurence.

The Israeli army announced on Saturday that it had freed four hostages from the hands of the Palestinian armed groups that had captured them during the unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7.

Today, four Israeli soldiers were killed and six others were injured in an explosion in a building in the south of the Gaza Strip, the Jewish Army reported today.

The four soldiers belonged to the Girati brigade and, according to The Times of Israel, two of the dead, both aged 19, were undergoing training.

They all died inside a building full of explosives, in the city of Rafah, on the border with Egypt. According to the Times of Israel, the soldiers found the entrance to a tunnel in the building that they believed to be the home of a Hamas fighter.

Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at least 299 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the Palestinian enclave.

The ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the attack by the Islamist group Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7, 2023, which caused around 1,200 deaths and two hundred hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Since then, Tel Aviv has launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has so far caused more than 36,500 deaths and 82,000 injuries according to Hamas, classified as a “terrorist organization” by Israel, the European Union and U.S.

It is estimated that 10,000 Palestinians remain buried in the rubble after around eight months of war, which is also triggering a serious humanitarian crisis.

The conflict has also caused nearly two million people to be displaced, plunging the overpopulated and poor Palestinian enclave into a serious humanitarian crisis, with more than 1.1 million people in a “situation of catastrophic hunger” that is causing victims – “the highest number ever recorded” by the UN in studies on food security in the world.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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