Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation

FILE PHOTO: U.N. Security Council meets to address the situation in the Middle East at a ministerial level, in New York

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accused Israel on Monday of spreading misinformation about him during the more than eight-month-long war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"I've heard the same source many times saying that I never attacked Hamas, that I never condemned Hamas, that I am a supporters of Hamas," Guterres told a news conference on information integrity, without naming Israel.

"I have condemned Hamas 102 times, 51 of them in formal speeches, the others in different social platforms," he said. "The truth, in the end, always wins."

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan said the condemnations by Guterres were "empty words when compared to his actions."

"His sole aim has been to help Hamas survive this war. We find it despicable that the secretary-general refuses to abide by the U.N.'s standards and paints a distorted picture of events on the ground," Erdan said. "Antonio Guterres is an accomplice to terror and should resign today."

Relations between the U.N. and Israel have long been fraught and have only worsened during the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel accused the U.N. of being biased against it and has accused U.N. staff of working with Hamas and other militants. The U.N. is investigating some of the allegations, but has said in many cases it is yet to received evidence from Israel.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Josie Kao)