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Ban calls on Israel, Palestinians to help truce efforts

Published on Nov 19, 2012 6:02 AM
A Palestinian is arrested by Israeli security forces during a protest against the Israeli military operations in Gaza Strip near the West Bank city of Nablus, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - United Nations (UN) leader Ban Ki Moon on Sunday called on Israel and Hamas to work with Egypt to reach a ceasefire in their mounting conflict.

Mr Ban said in a statement he was heading for the region to support ceasefire efforts but his office did not say whether he had left or what his itinerary would be.

The UN secretary general said he was "deeply saddened" by reports that up to 10 members of one Palestinian family had died in one Israeli air strike on Gaza and "alarmed" by the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.

"This must stop. I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire. Any further escalation will inevitably increase the suffering of the affected civilian populations and must be avoided," Mr Ban said.

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