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Crisis Group calls for Gaza cease-fire

BRUSSELS, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The International Crisis Group has joined a chorus calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, where the death toll from an Israeli military operation continues to grow.

The Belgium-based Crisis Group released a report Tuesday calling on the international community to support an immediate cease-fire in Gaza between Hamas and Israeli military forces to protect the lives of civilians, Crisis Group reported.

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The report, titled "Ending the War in Gaza," says a cease-fire is needed to avoid what the International Committee of the Red Cross is calling a growing humanitarian crisis.

Officials say the potential threat of Israel's ongoing land incursion could echo the failed month-long military campaign Israel fought against the militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon in 2006.

"There are signs important actors -- European in particular, the United States far less so -- have learned from the experience of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war that time is of the essence," Robert Blecher, Crisis Group senior analyst, said in a statement.

"It's not clear whether this bitter lesson will translate into quicker action. But devising a cease-fire acceptable to both sides is not beyond reach."

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The report calls for a cease-fire agreement that addresses both Israeli and Hamas core concerns.

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