TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday by demanding he work to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the strip and save it from a humanitarian crisis.

In a statement issued upon Guterres' arrival, Hamas also demanded he approve relief and development programs and pressure Israel about the Palestinian prisoners it holds, AP reported.

Guterres is on his first visit to the region since taking office at the beginning of the year. His meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders are aimed at encouraging the resumption of peace talks.

Prior to arriving in Gaza, he took a helicopter tour of the Israel-Gaza border with Israeli officials, visited a tunnel Hamas dug into Israel to allegedly carry out attacks and met local residents living along the volatile front.

Guterres was accompanied by Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, and Aviv Kochavi, Israel's deputy military chief. Danon warned Guterres that Hamas officials have been exploiting international humanitarian aid to dig the tunnels aimed at harming Israel.