Ban urges Israel to avoid ground operation in Gaza

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 17:50 hrs

Jerusalem, Nov 20 (IANS) UN Secretary−General Ban Ki−Moon Tuesday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "act with restraint" amid the operation in Gaza and urged him not to order a military invasion of the strip.

Both Ban and Netanyahu made statements to the press prior to their meeting, discussing the international community's efforts to achieve a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the militant groups in Gaza, Xinhua reported.

"The entire world is concerned with the loss of human lives on both sides and a further escalation of the fighting will be tragic for both sides," Ban told reporters.

"This escalation of the violence is putting the entire region at risk and I'm here to appeal to all sides to withhold fire," he added.

Ban also denounced the rocket attacks fired from the Gaza Strip, saying they are "unacceptable, reckless and irresponsible".

"I strongly condemn these attacks and call for them to cease immediately, these attacks are killing and injuring civilians," said Ban.

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