-ANI): China on Thursday voiced its "grave concern" over Israel's large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, urging Israel to maintain "maximum restraint."
"We are highly concerned with the operation and strongly condemn any action that causes civilian casualties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said while commenting on the massive airstrikes launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, which caused deaths and injuries of people, including Ahmed al-Jaabari, head of Ezz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, an armed group under Hamas.
Hong urged all relevant parties, especially Israel, to maintain maximum restraint to avoid an escalation of the tense situation.
The conflict between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has been escalating in recent days. On Saturday, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Defense Forces patrol jeep, wounding four soldiers.
In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force carried out several airstrikes on Palestinian targets in Gaza. Hamas launched more than 150 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel in return.
"The current regional situation highlights the importance and urgency of resolving the Palestinian issue. The international community should attach high importance and make greater efforts to this end," Hong said. (Xinhua-ANI)