UN calls for ceasefire as Palestinian deaths reach 88

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip had "dangerously escalated" as he called for a ceasefire at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

A Palestinian man reacts at his house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian man reacts at his house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Credit: Reuters

He said that 88 Palestinians - many of them civilians - are reported to have been killed in the attacks and another 339 injured.

He said that those responsible must be brought to justice, adding that the risk of a ground offensive was "still palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing".

"It is now more urgent than ever to try to find common ground for a return to calm and a ceasefire understanding," he said.

More: Israel continues air strikes on Gaza for a third day

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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.