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UN chief urges Israel to avoid 'new cycle of bloodshed'

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UN chief urges Israel to avoid new cycle of bloodshed
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United Nations: UN leader Ban Ki-moon urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ease tensions with Gaza militants and also discussed the crisis with Egypt's president, the UN spokesman said.

The UN secretary general held telephone talks yesterday with Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi after Israeli warplanes killed a Hamas military commander, setting off fears of a wider conflict.

Egypt said it was recalling its ambassador over the hit on a car in Gaza City that killed Ahmed Jaabari and his bodyguard, followed by more than 20 air strikes in Gaza that killed another six people and wounded 65, according to the Hamas health ministry and rescue services.

Ban expressed concern to Netanyahu about the "alarming escalation of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and the targeted killing by Israel of a Hamas military operative in Gaza," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

While reaffirming his "strong condemnation" of rocket fire out of Gaza, Ban "noted his expectation that Israeli reactions are measured so as not to provoke a new cycle of bloodshed that could cause additional civilian casualties and have dangerous spillover effects in the region," the spokesman added.

Ban's talks with Morsi also concentrated on "the need to prevent any further deterioration" between Israel and Gaza. Egypt called for a UN Security Council meeting on the clashes.

"The secretary general expressed strong support for the leadership being exercised by Egypt to restore calm in the region," the spokesman said.

PTI

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