New York: United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his ‘deep concerns’ over the escalating violence in Gaza, and reiterated his call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and avoid further civilian casualties and overall destabilisation.
“The Secretary-General condemns the recent multiple rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. These indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas must stop,” said a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson in New York.
Israeli-Palestinian violence has flared in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli colonists in the West Bank in late June and the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager from occupied East Jerusalem last week.
Some 30 people were killed in the Gaza Strip as Israeli war planes carried out widespread attacks.
The deadliest strike took place shortly after midnight when a missile slammed into a house in the northern town of Beit Hanun, killing Hafez Hamad, a senior Islamic Jihad commander, and five of his family members, including two women and two children.
Shortly afterwards, a 30-year-old man was killed in an air strike on Rafah, medics said.
As day broke, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a motorcycle in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, leaving 30-year-old Rafiq Al Kafarne clinically dead and another person severely wounded.
In Mughraqa in central Gaza, medics retrieved the body of 80-year-old Naifeh Farajallah from the rubble of her house damaged in an earlier air strike.
In the same area, an Israel missile killed two men in a field near Nusseirat refugee camp. Medics named them as Abdel Nasser Abu Kweik, 60, and his son Khaled, 31.
“The Secretary-General is extremely concerned with the dangerous escalation of violence, which has already resulted in multiple Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of Israeli operations against Gaza,” the statement continued.
Ban added: “It is imperative now to restore calm. The unsustainable situation in Gaza will also need to be addressed in its political, security, humanitarian and development dimensions as part of a comprehensive solution.”
— WAM with inputs from agencies