Risk of "all out escalation" in Israel and Gaza: Ban

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The UN is warning of an "all out" escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip.

The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told members of the Security Council on Thursday that the threat of a ground offensive was "still palpable"

He said it could be prevented if Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip stops firing rockets.

Over the past several days, said Mr Ban, more than 550 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel.

Meanwhile, he added, the Israeli Defence Forces have launched more than 500 airstrikes on Gaza.

Eighty-eight Palestinians, many of them civilians, have reportedly been killed, 339 injured and more than 900 displaced.

The Secretary-General said attacks on both sides continue.

"Today we face the risk of an all out escalation in Israel and Gaza with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing."

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that operations aimed at targeting terrorist cells and protecting the security of Israelis will be intensified.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Abbas continues to appeal for an end to this crisis and has reached out to Egypt to facilitate a cease-fire on the basis of the Cairo-brokered November 2012 cease-fire.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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