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Middle East parties must avoid escalating violence

Middle East parties must avoid escalation of violence, Annan says

Reacting with concern to the latest series of attacks by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all parties to refrain from actions that could result in an intensification of violence.

A spokesman for Mr. Annan voiced concern that in recent days Israel has conducted several targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“While recognizing Israel's right to defend its citizens, targeted killings place innocent bystanders at grave risk and amount to executions without trial,” the spokesman said in a statement issued in New York.

At the same time, the statement noted with concern the repeated rocket attacks against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip.

The Secretary-General “underlines to all parties the need to respect international humanitarian law, and to refrain from actions that could lead to an escalation of violence,” the spokesman said.

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