UN chief describes Gaza as being 'on a knife edge'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged restraint in the Middle East, describing Gaza as being "on a knife edge".

Ban said: "I am alarmed by the new wave of violence that has engulfed Gaza, southern Israel, and the West Bank - including east Jerusalem. This is one of the most critical tests the region has faced in recent years.

An explosion in Gaza City.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Gaza is 'on a knife edge'. Credit: Eyad Al-Baba / Anadolu Agency

"The risk of violence expanding further still is real. Gaza and the region as a whole cannot afford any other full-blown war.

"I also urged the Prime Minister Netanyahu to exercise maximum restraint and to respect international obligations to protect civilians."


Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza as air strikes continue

Israel has launched a ground offensive in Gaza with residents reporting heavy shelling in the area. Palestinian health officials say 27 Palestinians, including a baby, two children and a 70-year-old woman, have been killed since Israel sent ground forces into the densely-populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians.