The European Union (EU) on Monday urged Israel and Palestinian armed groups to reach a ceasefire in Gaza, Xinhua reported.
A conclusion adopted by the EU Foreign Ministers who met in Brussels expressed the 27-member bloc's grave concern about the situation in Gaza and Israel, and deeply regretted the loss of civilian life on both sides.
The statement called for an urgent de-escalation and cessation of hostilities. It supported the efforts of Egypt and other actors to mediate for a rapid ceasefire and welcomes the mission of the United Nations secretary general to the region.
The EU strongly condemned rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip which they said Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza must cease immediately.
"There can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians," said the conclusion, "Israel has the right to protect its population from these kinds of attacks. In doing so, it must act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times."
The EU stressed the need for all sides to fully respect international humanitarian law, with saying "an immediate cessation of hostilities is in everyone's interest," particularly at a time of instability in the region.
Conflict between Israel and Gaza militants led by the Islamic Hamas movement entered its sixth day on Monday with more Israeli airstrikes on buildings and militants' properties. According to the Hamas health authority, nearly 100 Palestinians were killed and around 800 wounded since last Wednesday, with more than half of them being civilians.