UN chief calls for independent investigation into Gaza deaths

UN Sec. General Guterres calls for an investigation after Hamas-led riots lead to death of 16 Gazans.

AFP, Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an "independent and transparent investigation" after 16 Gazans were killed and hundreds more wounded
during clashes with the Israeli military, a spokesman said.

The IDF has confirmed that at least ten of the 16 were terrorists.

Guterres' call came as the UN Security Council heard fears of a further escalation in the violence in the Gaza during emergency talks.

"The Secretary-General calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these incidents," said a statement by Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, which also reaffirmed "the readiness" of the world body to revitalize peace efforts.

Haq added that Guterres "also appeals to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and in particular any measures that could place civilians in harm's way."

Kuwait requested an emergency meeting to discuss the unraveling situation in Gaza, which saw the conflict's deadliest single day since the 2014 Gaza war.

"There is fear that the situation might deteriorate in the coming days," said assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, urging maximum restraint.

Britain and the United States expressed regret that the timing of the meeting -- the first night of Passover -- meant Israeli officials could not attend. Leading ambassadors sent deputies in their place.

"It's vital that this Council be balanced in its approach," a US diplomat told the meeting. "We should have found an arrangement for all parties to participate tonight," he added.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life today," the diplomat added. "Bad actors who use protests as a cover to incite violence endanger innocent lives."

"The risk of escalation is very real," the French representative said. "There is the possibility of a new conflict in the Gaza Strip."

In a written statement before the meeting, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, slammed Hamas for the violence.

"While Jews around the world gathered with their family at the Seder table to celebrate the Passover holiday, the Palestinians sunk to a new deceitful low so that they could use the UN to spread lies about Israel," Danon later said.

At least 30,000 people took part in Friday’s riot, IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said Friday. Protesters burned tires and threw firebombs and rocks at the border and at IDF forces.

Hamas also sent a seven-year-old girl to confront IDF soldiers who were stationed along the border fence with Gaza. The IDF ensured that the girl returned safely to her parents.

On Friday evening, the IDF thwarted an attempted shooting attack by a terror cell in northern Gaza.

Hamas terrorists killed in border riot
Prime Minister's Office