The UN Security Council has expressed serious concern for the growing number of casualties in Gaza and issued a fresh appeal for an immediate ceasefire, Sky News reported.
'The members of the Security Council express serious concern about the growing numbers of casualties,' said Rwandan Ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana, whose country chairs the 15-member council.
'The members of the Security Council call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.'
The council met at the request of Jordan, which proposed a more strongly worded draft resolution for consideration.
The resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, expressed 'grave concern' at the high number of civilians killed in Gaza, including children, and called for an immediate cease-fire, 'including the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip'.
The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting on Sunday killed at least 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighbourhoods.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called Israel's latest incursion 'atrocious', and said it must do far more to protect civilians.
The draft resolution called for the protection of civilians, the lifting of the 'Israeli restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip' and immediate humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.
But Jordan's proposed resolution was not discussed, and the acting council president, Gasana, emerged to read elements of a more limited press statement that called for the need to improve the humanitarian situation in the region and welcome Egypt's efforts to broker a cease-fire.
The Palestinian United Nations envoy, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, was disappointed.
'We were hoping for the Security Council to adopt a resolution to condemn the aggression against our people,' he told reporters. But he said Sunday's council statement was 'a test' for Israel to see if it would comply.
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