Italian FM says Gaza deaths ‘extremely worrying’

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, in Israel on a state visit, tells President Shimon Peres the Gaza death toll is “extremely worrying,” and calls for an immediate ceasefire.

“My visit in Ashdod yesterday showed me the strong physical and psychological pressure on the people. As a mother I understand very well the pressure and the tension there and at the same time the number of civilian victims in Gaza is extremely worrying. I think it’s in the interest of the Israeli and Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, to stop this,” she says.

Gaza health officials say the death toll stands at 205, after over eight days of fighting. It is not clear how many of those are civilians.

Mogherini also addresses the increased radicalization in the Middle East, and growing anti-Semitism in Europe.

“The region is tense and there is the risk of radicalization in the Arab world and also in Europe, where we know we have to pay attention to the risk of anti-Semitism, especially in these days,” she says.

Peres says: “It’s a clear situation today, because Egypt offered a ceasefire. Israel accepted it. The Arab League accepted it. The only one that refused and continues to fire is the Hamas.”

“We’re trying to defend our own people, as we must, and we’re also trying hard not to hit innocent people in Gaza,” he adds.

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