UN chief urges Israel, Hamas to avoid escalating Gaza violence

UNITED NATIONS Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:44pm EST

UNITED NATIONS Nov 14 (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.

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