UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

25 March 2019

The UN Secretary-General said he was “gravely concerned” by the firing of a rocket from Gaza deep into Israel on Monday which reportedly injured seven people, including three children, north of the capital Tel Aviv.

Briefing correspondents at UN Headquarters in New York in the middle of the day, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, said that the rocket attack was “a serious and unacceptable violation.”

He also noted the reports of Israeli fire directed towards Gaza in response, saying that the UN chief was “monitoring events” closely. According to news reports, Israeli forces said they had carried out strikes against what were described as Hamas targets, and Gaza’s health ministry reported that seven had been injured during the retaliatory air strikes.

The extremist group Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006, but so far, no group has claimed responsibility for launching the rocket on Monday morning, according to latest media reports, which penetrated further into Israel than any attack since the end of the most recent conflict between Israel and Gaza, in 2014.

Mr. Dujarric, told reporters that the Secretary-General was due to meet his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, on Tuesday “who is also scheduled to brief the Security Council in person and where he will discuss the latest developments”, adding that the Council meeting was “a pre-scheduled briefing.”

“We continue to work with Egypt and all concerned parties to try to de-escalate the situation and again, encourage restraint” said Mr. Dujarric. “Further escalation is likely to make an already bad situation worse, in particular for civilians in and close to Gaza,” he added.

 

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