UN urges restraint after rocket from Gaza hits Israeli city
A senior United Nations official in the Middle East has condemned the firing of a rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel earlier today and urged restraint by all parties in the wake of the attack.
There was reportedly damage but no injuries resulting from the rocket fire, which struck a residential area in the city of Ashkelon, UN reported.
"Indiscriminate rocket fire against civilians is completely unacceptable and constitutes a terrorist attack," Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a statement.
"We call on the de facto authorities in Gaza to ensure that these kinds of actions do not occur," he added, referring to Hamas, which took power in the territory in 2007.
Mr. Serry stressed that violent actions must not be allowed to undermine progress in the on-going talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and urged all parties to exercise restraint and abide by international law.
At the end of 2008 Israel launched Operation Cast Lead with the stated aim of trying to halt repeated rocket attacks against it from Gaza. More than 1,400 people were killed and at least 5,000 others were injured during the three-week offensive.
In a briefing to the Security Council last week, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe reported that Palestinian militant groups had recently fired 41 rockets and mortars into southern Israel, causing no injuries.
At the same time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out six air-strikes and 21 incursions, killing four Gazans, including one alleged militant, and injuring 23 others, he added.