UN envoy warns of 'full-scale' war as death toll increases in Israel, Hamas attacks

UN envoy warns of 'full-scale' war as death toll increases in Israel, Hamas attacks
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The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process late Tuesday warned that the situation in Gaza and Israel is "escalating towards a full scale war," as the death toll from airstrikes in Gaza and rocket attacks in Israel  increases. 

"Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war," Tor Wennesland wrote in a tweet. "Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation."

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Reuters reported that recent Israeli bombing raids on Gaza have killed at least 35 people, with five in Israel dead following multiple rocket barrages from Hamas targeting Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba. 

At least 10 children were killed as of Wednesday, and over 200 other people were reportedly injured. The rockets continued to be fired on Tel Aviv Wednesday morning, when sirens of an incoming attack rang out at 3 a.m. 

The violence initially broke out when Hamas began launching hundreds of rockets toward Tel Aviv from Gaza. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE said after the Tuesday attacks by Hamas that the militants would pay a “heavy price.” 

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Wennesland emphasized in his message that the “cost of war in Gaza is devastating and is being paid by ordinary people."

"Stop the violence now," he wrote, adding that the U.N. is working to "restore calm."

The United Nations relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the violence and expressing concern for the children that are subject to it.

“Our hearts go out to their families and friends in communities that have been so cruelly affected by this latest escalation”, the organization wrote in a statement.

“Children are and must be protected under International Law and those responsible for breaching their obligations must be held fully accountable on the basis of clear evidence,” it added, reiterating its appeal to all parties “to exercise maximum restraint and comply with their obligations under International Law in the strictest terms, including with regard to protecting the inherent right to life of children."

The White House has condemned the violence in the area and has called for deescalation of the conflict. And later on Tuesday, a spokesperson from the National Security Council confirmed to The Hill that President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regarding the current situation, though the details of the letter are unknown. 

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal Republicans demanding Blinken impeachment are forgetting one thing — the Constitution MORE also spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday and “expressed his concerns regarding rocket attacks on Israel and his condolences for the lives lost as a result.”