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Violence in Gaza broke out this week as mobs fought in the streets and missiles flew over them, a matter of serious concern to the international community.
United Nations Middle East Envoy Tor Wennesland told the Security Council it was “the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in years” and warned on Twitter that “we are escalating to war in full”.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that “the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars from densely populated civilian areas into civilian population centers is a violation of international humanitarian law.”
Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Palestinian Territories, has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in the past two days, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted most of the missiles.
PROTESTS BREAK OVER US AS VIOLENCE ESCALES BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS
Israel responded with a spate of air strikes, defeating Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip, Bassem Issa, as well as several other high-ranking Hamas militants.
President Joe Biden said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reiterated US support.
“Israel has the right to defend itself when thousands of missiles hit your area,” Biden told reporters on Wednesday.
“My national security and defense personnel have been in constant contact with their counterparts in the Middle East, not just the Israelis but everyone from the Egyptians to the Saudis to the Emiratis.”
ISRAEL’S IDF SAYS ARRIVALS ON HAMAS IN THE GAZA STRIP SINCE 2014 WAR
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was sending an envoy to the Middle East immediately.
“I think Israel has an additional burden if it tries to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, even if it is right to respond to the defense of its people,” Blinken said on Wednesday.
Four members of the UN Security Council – France, Estonia, Ireland and Norway – issued a statement after meeting on Wednesday calling on both sides to “ease tension, end violence and show the utmost restraint”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for an emergency meeting of four international mediators to try to resolve the conflict.
“I think we have come to the joint conclusion that the most urgent task is to convene a meeting of the quartet of international mediators: Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union,” Lavrov said at a joint briefing with the Secretary of the United Nations. General Antonio Guterres.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on the two sides to “step back on the sidelines”.
“Britain is deeply concerned about the increasing violence and casualties among civilians and we want an urgent de-escalation of tensions,” he wrote on Twitter.
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At least 56 people have been killed in Gaza since violence broke out on Monday, while six people have been killed in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dispatched border police forces on Wednesday, saying Israel will “stop anarchy and restore governance in the cities of Israel, with an iron fist if necessary, with all necessary forces and authorities.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.