Hamas calls for 'day of wrath' after senior official killed by Israel
The group says suicide attacks may begin again in response to Thursday's Israeli airstrike on the home of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan.
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The AP also reports that UN officials are expressing concern about an "alarming" humanitarian crisis in Gaza, due to a shortage of basic supplies caused by the fighting. John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, on Wednesday said, "Hospitals are obviously still struggling very much to cope with the number of casualties. We have continued to get some medical supplies in and to help them cope, but this remains difficult and fragile."Skip to next paragraph
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Karen Abu Zayd, commissioner of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which helps Palestinian refugees, told reporters by video link from Gaza that the agency has not distributed any food for two weeks because of the shortage of supplies and the Israeli bombardment.
"I think that means that 20,000 people a day have been without food that they expect — and probably is the bulk of what they get," she said. "So people are doing pretty badly. Everyone we know is sharing whatever they have, not just with their families but with their neighbors."
"We haven't seen widespread hunger. We do see for the very first time ... people going through the rubbish dumps looking for things, people begging, which is quite a new phenomenon as well," she said.
Humanitarian concerns have also spurred calls for a ceasefire, writes The Washington Post. But Israeli officials deny there is a humanitarian crisis in the region, and allowed supplies into Gaza on Thursday.
Israel on Thursday allowed 93 trucks into the strip to deliver supplies. Israel accused Hamas of hoarding critically needed goods in order to create the impression that conditions in Gaza are worse than they actually are. Israel has not allowed foreign journalists into Gaza since its operation began, and the accusation could not be independently verified.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported Thursday that humanitarian needs in Gaza are growing, despite the aid shipments. The organization said electricity, cooking gas and water are all in extremely short supply.
Speaking in Paris after meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, [Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi] Livni said there is no humanitarian reason for a cease-fire.
"There is no humanitarian crisis in the strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce," she said. "Israel has been supplying comprehensive humanitarian aid to the strip."