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U.N. chief urges Israel, Hamas to avoid escalating Gaza violence

Reuters

November 14, 2012 | 10:11 am

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip on Nov. 14. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip on Nov. 14. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

The U.N. chief on Wednesday called on Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants to prevent an escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls, and urged both sides to ensure civilians will be protected, a U.N. spokesman said.

"The Secretary-General calls for an immediate de-escalation of tensions," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said, adding that it was a reiteration of Ban's already-stated position.

"Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and they must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times," he told reporters.

Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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