UN chief Guterres condemns Hamas attacks, says civilians must be ‘protected’

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The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the Hamas attacks “in the strongest terms,” urged maximum restraint and stressed that violence can’t solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Guterres reiterated that “only through negotiation leading to a two-state solution can peace be achieved.”

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The secretary-general said that “civilians must be respected and protected” at all times as required under international law, according to Dujarric.

With deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the UN chief called for the immediate release of all abducted persons, Dujarric said.

The UN Security Council scheduled a closed emergency meeting on the Hamas attacks at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday at the request of Malta and the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the council.

Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday on Saturday.

Israel said it is now at war with Hamas and launched airstrikes in Gaza.

With The Associated Press

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