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Mideast: Ban Ki-moon Concerned At Rising Violence

Middle East: Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' at rising violence, loss of life

28 February 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in southern Israel and Gaza, including the loss of civilian life resulting from rocket fire by Hamas and strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

"These events underscore the urgent need for a calming of violence, and must not be allowed to deter the continuation of the political process," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson.

Condemning rocket fire against Israel by Hamas, which intensified Wednesday and killed an Israeli civilian in Sederot, the Secretary-General called on Hamas and other militant groups to "cease such acts of terrorism."

He also condemned the killing of four Palestinian children, including an infant, in Gaza in IDF strikes.

Mr. Ban called on Israel to "exercise maximum restraint and ensure respect for international humanitarian law so as not to endanger civilians," the statement added.

ENDS

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