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Escalating violence in Gaza alarms UN human rights chief

Escalating violence in Gaza alarms UN human rights chief

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today condemned the recent escalation of violence across the Gaza Strip, calling on all sides to do their utmost to ensure that civilians are protected.

In a statement, Ms. Arbour said the deadly intra-Palestinian violence was having a “devastating impact on an already vulnerable civilian population,” and she voiced hope that the ceasefire reached among Palestinian factions on Saturday would hold.

The High Commissioner also deplored the ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants against the Israeli town of Sderot.

“Deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of indiscriminate weapons, which I personally witnessed during my visit to Sderot a few months ago, are in flagrant violation of cardinal principles of international humanitarian law and must stop,” she said.

Ms. Arbour also called on Israel to exercise restraint. “Extrajudicial killings are in breach of both international human rights and humanitarian law, and cannot be justified under any circumstance,” she said.