UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council called early on Sunday for an immediate halt to all violence in Gaza after a day of Israeli air strikes in response to rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants against Israel.
“The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate halt to all violence,” said a statement read to reporters by Croatian Ambassador Neven Jurica, president of the council.
“The members called on the parties to stop immediately all military activities.”
Palestinian medical officials said on Sunday that 271 Palestinians had been killed in 24 hours of Israeli attacks in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Since the operation began, one Israeli had been killed by Palestinian rocket fire.
Diplomats said the Security Council meeting had been convened at the request of Libya, the only Arab country on the council.
The statement, agreed upon after four hours of closed-door council discussions, called on all parties to address “the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza.”
It urged them to take necessary measures, including the opening of border crossings, to ensure Gaza’s people were supplied with food, fuel and medical treatment.
Council members “stressed the need for the restoration of calm in full” to open the way for a Palestinian-Israeli political solution.
Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; editing by Todd Eastham
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