Ban calls for de-escalation of tensions amid new violence in Gaza and southern Israel
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and strongly condemns these actions,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. “He calls on Israel to exercise maximum restraint.”
According to media reports, sporadic missile fire from Gaza hit southern Israel today for a fourth straight day. Meanwhile, six Palestinians, including two militants, were reportedly killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, following an attack by militants on an army jeep. Israel has reportedly said it will intensify its actions if rocket-fire continues.
Mr. Ban “deplores the loss of life and calls for an immediate de-escalation of tensions,” said the statement. “Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.”
It was nearly four years ago that Israel launched Operation Cast Lead with the stated aim of trying to halt repeated rocket attacks against it from Gaza. More than 1,400 people were killed and at least 5,000 others were injured during the 23-day military offensive that began at the end of 2008.