U.N. condemns violence in Gaza

March 2, 2008 at 7:52 AM
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GAZA, March 2 (UPI) -- The U.N.'s secretary-general pleaded for restraint as the conflict between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military in Gaza takes lives on both sides.

Ban Ki-moon said the attacks on southern Israel by Palestinian militants served "no purpose." The United Nations leader also referred to the Israeli incursion into Gaza as "disproportionate and excessive," The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Two Israeli soldiers and more than 60 Palestinians have died in the military action in Gaza meant to stop the rocket fire by militants into Israel.

The Israeli military pushed nearly two miles into Gaza Saturday in the single most deadly day of conflict in five years.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pleaded for "international protection for the Palestinian people" calling the Israeli reaction to the rocket attacks "unthinkable."

However, Ze'ev Boim, a member of the Israeli Cabinet, said the Israel's response was not strong enough, saying Israel "must exact a heavy price from" the Palestinians" until they beg us to stop."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, are scheduled to visit the volatile region this week.

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