UN chief says Israel-Gaza can`t afford another war as Palestinian death toll rises

As unabated firing continued across the Israel-Gaza border, with volleys of rockets and missiles being fired from both the sides, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned against the situation spiralling out of control.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Jul 10, 2014, 17:17 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Jerusalem: As unabated firing continued across the Israel-Gaza border, with volleys of rockets and missiles being fired from both the sides, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned against the situation spiralling out of control and that the region ``can`t afford another full-blown war``.

Warning that the situation in Gaza "is on a knife-edge", the UN chief appealed both the Palestinian militants and Israel to end hostilities.

Mr Ban urged both the sides to show restraint and respect international obligations to protect civilians.

As the crisis intensifies with each passing day, the UN Security Council is set to discuss the issue in a a meeting later today.

Ban`s remarks came a day after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to "further intensify attacks on Hamas" in Gaza, saying that the Hamas will have to "pay a heavy price" for their rocket attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier suggested acting with a "cool head" over the situation, sounded determined late Tuesday night when he justified expanded operations against Gaza. 

"No other country lives under such a threat, and no country would accept such a threat," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the salvos of firing did not seem to stop as Israeli Army and Palestinian militants continued retaliating each other by shooting missiles and rockets.

Israel on Thursday intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza over the town of Tel Aviv, the IDF tweeted.

In another tweet, Israel added that Hamas fired over 365 rockets in less than 3 days, implying that Israel is getting hit with one rocket every 10 minutes.

The death toll in Gaza was reported to increase to 76 since the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) launched Operation protective Edge to stop Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, with 20 people being killed in the deadliest niht of Israeli air strikes, reported the BBC citing Palestinian officials.

Early today, seven Palestinians were said to have been killed in an Israeli air strike near the southern city of Khan Younis – the same city where Palestinians had formed a human shield to deter the IDF strike.

Israel says that it has hit over 750 Hamas targets in Gaza and over 360 rockets have been fired by Hamas since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.

Israel said that Gaza was firing long range M302 rockets (with a range of 90-150km) that could `strike most of Israel`. 

The Hamas has vowed that the “enemy will have to pay a bitter price” and that all Israelis would be targeted in retaliation. 

The Israeli military, however, said that the Hamas militants were “systematically using men, women and children as human shields”. 

The Israeli military maintain that they are targeting the houses of Hamas members involved in launching rockets on Israel. 

At the heart of the recent escalation of conflict is the abduction and murder of three Israeli teen students, who were allegedly killed by Hamas militants.  

 
However, the Palestinian militant group has denied any role. 
What added fuel to the fire was a revenge killing, in which a Palestinian teenager named Mohammed Abu Khdair was abducted and burnt to death.   

The furore over the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager in `revenge killing` manifested itself in the form of heightened conflict across the Israel-Gaza border with continued rounds of mortar and rocket firing from both sides.