UN Deems Gaza 'Uninhabitable' After 90 Days Of Devastation

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Ankara seeking to calm tensions; Houthis hold rally in support of Gaza as Hezbollah warns of 'inevitable' response

UN Deems Gaza 'Uninhabitable' After 90 Days Of Devastation

The United Nations has said that much of the narrow occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza had been rendered "uninhabitable" due to the incessant bombing campaign across the length and breadth of the strip, which houses over 2 million people.

The comments came as Israel bombed the southern areas of Gaza, including Khan Yunis and the border area of Rafah, early on Saturday.

The United Nations Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths on Friday said that "Gaza has simply become uninhabitable".

It was followed by a statement from the UN's children's agency, UNICEF, which warned that clashes, malnutrition and the absence of health services have created "a deadly cycle that threatens over 1.1 million children" in Gaza.

Israeli strikes in Gaza have thus far killed over 22,600 Palestinians, nearly all of whom were children. Israel continues to be engaged in heavy clashes in Khan Yunis.

Blinken in Turkiye

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicked off a five-day multi-state mission in the Middle East with the express goal of calming rising tensions as recent attacks by Israel in neighbouring countries heightened possibilities of hostilities spilling over.

Blinken is expected to take up the key issues of Gaza, Turkiye's support of South Africa's petition before the International Court for Justice to declare Israel's actions in Gaza as a genocide, Turkiye's vote over allowing Sweden into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and sale of military jets. 

He was then due to jet off to Greece to address concerns before touring a host of Arab states before concluding the trip with visits to Israel and the West Bank.

His visit is expected to be followed by similar trips from the European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, who will visit Lebanon.

Germany's top diplomat, Annalena Baerbock, was also expected to travel to the region and use Germany's influence in the region.

Huthis come out in force

In the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, hundreds of thousands marched in support of Gaza and Palestine.

They held up the Palestinian flag as they chanted anti-US and anti-Israel slogans.

Yemen has implemented a blockade in the Red Sea, preventing Israel-bound ships from proceeding towards the Suez Canal and forcing these ships to sail around Africa to access the Mediterranean.

It prompted the US to raise a retaliatory coalition of 12 countries. So far, the US has sunk three Huthi boats after they tried to board a container vessel run by Maersk.

The Indian Navy, which has been supporting US efforts in the Gulf, said it had rescued 21 crew from a vessel in the Arabian Sea which sent out a distress call about being hijacked.

The Indian Navy, in a statement, said that of the 21 crew rescued from Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk, 15 were Indian.

The Huthis have used fast boats along with drones and missiles to target and board ships.

Hezbollah's 'inevitable' response warning

Lebanon's Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah has warned that a drone strike in southern Beirut earlier in the week that killed Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Aruri would be met with a response.

Border tensions between Israel and Lebanon have heightened, with Israel raising the alert level for troops apart from mobilisation along the border with Lebanon since the drone strike.

Nasrallah on Friday said: "The response is inevitably coming. We cannot remain silent on a violation of this magnitude because it means the whole of Lebanon would be exposed."

He added that their fighters from areas bordering Israel will respond to the attacks.

Israel has sought to distance itself from the drone strike on a Beirut apartment, but experts and US defence officials all point towards Tel Aviv. 

Meanwhile, Israel continued to bomb targets in Lebanon near their shared border.