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South Africa calls for UN force to protect Gaza civilians

Palestinian child wounded in Israeli air strike   -  
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Hatem Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

South Africa

South Africa on Monday called on the United Nations to send a rapid protection force to Gaza to protect civilians from further Israeli bombardments.

"The numbers of non-combatants killed, especially the numbers of children killed, requires that the world to show that it is serious about global accountability," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

This as Israel continues to pound the Palestinian enclave with fierce air and artillery strikes, as troops backed by tanks expand its ground incursion.

Israel declared war on the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, after its deadly 7 October cross-border attack from the Gaza Strip in which some 1,400 civilians and soldiers died.

But the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry says over eight thousand people, many of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza since then.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHR) said rescuers were struggling to reach people.

There are increasing international calls for Palestinian civilians, caught between the warring sides, to be protected.

South Africa has long been an advocate for peace in the region and has compared the plight of Palestinians to its own under apartheid.

However, in calling for a protection force, it has gone further in its support than most nations, some of which have called for a ceasefire or the opening of a humanitarian corridors.

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