Tags: un | gaza

UN Chief to Visit Gaza

Monday, 19 Jan 2009 05:59 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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NEW YORK -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received permission from Israeli authorities and from Hamas to visit the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, say Israeli government sources.

Ban, who has been in the region since last week, is likely to visit the embattled Palestinian enclave sometime on Tuesday.

The UN headquarters in NYC could not "confirm" the visit but did tell NewsMax that they "were aware" of the clearances.

The visit by Ban comes after Israel and Hamas declared tentative "ceasefires" over the weekend.

The Israeli campaign, which lasted almost three weeks, saw more than 1,000 Palestinians killed and more than 12 Israelis killed.

Ban's expected visit comes as Saudi Arabia publicly committed to help re-build the region, supposedly setting aside more than $500 mil for the project.

The secretary general is expected to tour the ruins of several UN facilities bombed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The UN and Israel have been at odds as to whether the facilities had been used by Hamas terrorists to attack IDF soldiers during the recent invasion.

Before leaving NYC last week, Ban told reporters that "he did not intend" to visit Gaza, but the recent mutual ceasefire commitments changed that position.

Ban is now expected back at UN headquarters later in the week.

The secretary-general is also expected to travel to Washington within the next week for a meeting with newly inaugurated President Barak Obama.

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