Israel-Hamas war: UN chief 'horrified' by Israeli strike
Antonio Guterres said he was "horrified" by a strike by Israeli forces on a convoy of ambulances in Gaza
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres was "horrified" by a strike from Israeli forces on a convoy of ambulances in Gaza on Friday, he said in a statement. The conflict "must stop," he added.
"I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital. The images of bodies strewn on the street outside the hospital are harrowing," Guterres said.
He added that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was "horrific" and reiterated his call for a ceasefire and the release of hostages taken by Hamas in its initial attack on 7 October, which prompted the current round of Israeli counter-attacks.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, one of its ambulances was hit "by a missile fired by Israeli forces" near the entrance to the Gaza City hospital. The attack killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others, it said.
Israel's military said it had launched an air strike on "an ambulance that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone".
Meanwhile, US officials are making intense efforts to gain the release of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza, but there is no guarantee of success or a timeframe, a senior US administration official said.
The official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said there was "indirect engagement" aimed at finding a way to get the hostages out but that the work was extremely difficult.
The official said it would require a "very significant pause in the conflict" to get the hostages out. "It is something that is under a very serious and active discussion. There is no agreement as of yet to actually get this done, but it's something we're working on extremely hard," he said.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, reportedly killed nearly 1,400 people and took more than 240 others hostage during the 7 October assault in southern Israel.