UN secretary-general condemns Gazan rocket attacks

Ban Ki-moon also urges Israel to exercise caution with regard to stray fire coming from Syria

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed concern over  the flare-up along Israel’s southern border, where over 160 rockets and mortars have been launched at Israel from Gaza since Saturday.

Ban condemned Gazan terrorists for targeting Israeli civilians and called on Jerusalem to practice restraint in responding to the attacks.

“The secretary-general reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and strongly condemns these actions,” Ban’s spokesman said in a statement. “Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.”

Monday marked the third day in a row in which the south of Israel was pummeled by rockets fired by Gazans. Israeli leaders are reportedly considering a wide military action against the Strip in a bid to reinstate a deterrent effect on would-be rocket launchers.

Israeli air strikes have until now targeted rocket launching crews, but as the south remains paralyzed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under increasing pressure to authorize a stronger response.

Ban’s statement came a day after the secretary-general called on Israel and Syria to work to decrease border tensions along their borders, after Israel fired a warning shot at Syria in response to Syrian mortars landing in Israeli territory.

“The secretary-general is deeply concerned by the potential for escalation,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “He calls for the utmost restraint and urges Syria and Israel to uphold the Disengagement Agreement, respect their mutual obligations, and halt firing of any kind across the ceasefire line.”

On Monday, at least two Syrian soldiers were reported to have been injured by an Israeli tank shell fired at a mobile Syrian Army artillery battery that had just fired a mortar shell, reportedly by accident, into Israeli territory in the Golan Heights.

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