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Dhaka Tribune

UN chief warns Mideast on brink of 'full-scale regional conflict'

  • Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,970 in Gaza
  • Guterres calls for an end to the cycle of retaliation and urges maximum
Update : 18 Apr 2024, 08:53 PM

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday painted a dark picture of the situation in the Middle East, warning that spiralling tensions over the war in Gaza and Iran's attack on Israel could devolve into a "full-scale regional conflict."

Guterres also said Israel's military offensive on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for their unprecedented October 7 resistance campaign on Israel, had created a "humanitarian hellscape" for civilians trapped in the besieged Palestinian territory.

"The Middle East is on a precipice. Recent days have seen a perilous escalation -- in words and deeds," Guterres told the Security Council.

"One miscalculation, one miscommunication, one mistake, could lead to the unthinkable --- a full-scale regional conflict that would be devastating for all involved," he said, calling on all parties to exercise "maximum restraint."

Iran unleashed a barrage of missiles and drones on Israel over the weekend, after an attack on its consulate in Damascus widely blamed on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country reserves the right to protect itself.

Guterres condemned both the consulate attack and the flurry of drones, saying that the latter constituted a "serious escalation" of the situation.

"It is high time to end the bloody cycle of retaliation," he said. "It is high time to stop."

"The international community must work together to prevent any actions that could push the entire Middle East over the edge, with a devastating impact on civilians. Let me be clear: the risks are spiraling on many fronts."

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