*** ----> Israel pounds Gaza after US blocks UN ceasefire | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Israel pounds Gaza after US blocks UN ceasefire

AFP | Gaza City, Palestinian Territories                                                        

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Israel bombarded targets in Gaza yesterday after the United States blocked an extraordinary United Nations bid for a ceasefire in the war with Hamas. Aid groups say Gaza faces an "apocalyptic" humanitarian situation and is on the verge of being overwhelmed by disease and starvation.

At least 17,490 people, mostly women and children, have died in two months of fighting in the narrow territory, according to the latest figures from Gaza's health ministry. Washington vetoed a UN resolution that would have called for a ceasefire on Friday, a move strongly condemned by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as humanitarian groups.

As Israel continued to pound Gaza with air strikes, the Hamas ministry said 71 dead had arrived at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah alone over 24 hours, and 62 at Nasser hospital in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

An AFP correspondent in Nasser hospital saw a child on a makeshift stretcher and others simply sitting on the floor waiting to receive care, while firefighters outside poured water onto the flames of a burning building partly destroyed by an Israeli strike.

Alexandra Saieh, of Save the Children, spoke of "maggots being picked from wounds and children undergoing amputations without anaesthetic". The situation "is not just a catastrophe; it's apocalyptic," added Bushra Khalidi of Oxfam.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres triggered the rare Security Council vote on a ceasefire by invoking a measure unused in decades, saying "the people of Gaza are looking into the abyss.". But the US vetoed the Security Council resolution.