UN official warns of humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip

A senior United Nations official implored Israel to reverse its decision Friday to seal all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, warning that the situation in the region has deteriorated into a full-fledged emergency because of the cutoff of vital supplies for 1.4 million Palestinians. "I believe it is a crisis already, because I think the reduction of goods coming in cumulatively is creating an extremely difficult situation for the Palestinians," said John Holmes, the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs. "In Gaza, we're getting to a situation where virtually all of the population is dependent on international aid supplies." Holmes also called on Israel to halt its air strikes, whose targets included a rocket launch squad, a disused base for Hamas security forces and a vacant building used as the Hamas-run interior ministry. Two civilians and one operative were killed and dozens of others were injured in the neighborhood around the ministry building.