UN chief calls for 'immediate' ceasefire in Gaza

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate end to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the return of hostages and an "increase" in humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.

"I repeat my call and the world's call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and an immediate increase in humanitarian aid," Guterres said in a video address to an international donor conference in Kuwait. "But the ceasefire will only be the beginning. It will be a long way back to the devastation and trauma of this war.

The war in Gaza is causing appalling human suffering, devastating lives, tearing apart families and leaving vast numbers of people homeless, hungry and traumatized,” Guterres said. His remarks were aired at the opening of a conference in Kuwait organized by the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO) and the UN's humanitarian coordination organization OCHA.

In Nairobi on Friday, the UN chief warned that Gaza faces an "epic humanitarian catastrophe" if Israel launches a full-scale ground operation in Rafah. /BGNES, AFP