WASHINGTON: The president of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly expressed grave concern Monday over Israel’s assault on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, reported the Anadolu Agency.

“I am deeply distressed by the escalating military operation into Rafah, where over a million civilians are already sheltering in the most dire conditions,” Dennis Francis said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Another phase of this humanitarian catastrophe is at our doorstep. This is not a path to sustainable peace,“ he added.

In the name of humanity, Francis said, he will continue to appeal to all those with leverage to do their utmost to help stop the bloodshed and initiate meaningful dialogue for a durable peace.

The Israeli army plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, home to more than a million people seeking refuge from the war, to defeat what Tel Aviv calls the remaining “Hamas battalions”. The planned offensive has triggered concerns of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since October, killing at least 28,340 people and injuring 67,984 others.

The Israeli onslaught has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN. - Bernama

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