Gaza 'powder keg' could spark wider war: UN rights chief

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Palestinians walk amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on March 3, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Geneva: The situation in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is a "powder keg" with the potential to spark broader conflict in the Middle East, UN human rights chief Volker Turk said Monday.

Turk said it was imperative to to take all possible measures to avoid a wider conflagration.

"The war in Gaza has already generated dangerous spillover in neighbouring countries," he said in his global update to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

"I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration. This would have implications for every country in the Middle East and many beyond it."

He said that overlapping emergencies made the spectre of spillover conflict very real, and cited the examples of Yemen and Lebanon as places where the Gaza war is having a wider effect.

"The military escalation in southern Lebanon between Israel, Hezbollah and other armed groups is extremely worrying," Turk said.

The UN high commissioner for human rights said almost 200 people had been killed in Lebanon and some 90,000 internally displaced.

There was also extensive damage to health facilities, schools and vital infrastructure.

"Incidents in which civilians, including children, paramedics and journalists, have been killed in attacks must be fully investigated," said Turk.

Some 80,000 people have also been displaced from areas in northern Israel along the country's border with Lebanon, he added.

"It is imperative to do everything possible to avoid a wider conflagration," he said.

AFP 

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