GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations human rights chief on Saturday warned of "possibly catastrophic consequences" of large-scale ground operations in the Gaza Strip, where thousands have already died in Israeli air strikes.
"Given the manner in which military operations have been conducted until now, in the context of the 56-year-old occupation, I am raising alarm about the possibly catastrophic consequences of large-scale ground operations in Gaza and the potential for thousands more civilians to die," Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.
"Continued violence is not the answer."
Volker also called on the warring parties and all other states with influence in the region "to do all in their power to de-escalate this conflict".
Israel sent troops into Gaza on Friday night and has pledged to continue doing so to target tunnels and other infrastructure used by Hamas.
Israel had earlier made only brief sorties into Gaza during three weeks of bombardment in reprisal for attacks and abductions by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Giles Elgood)