Ban: Israel must halt 'excessive force' against Palestinians
UN chief: I condemn Israel's military actions that have killed and injured many civilians, including children.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel on Thursday to halt attacks using "disproportionate and excessive force" against Palestinians.
"Israel's disproportionate and excessive use of force has killed and injured many civilians including children ... I condemn these actions and call on Israel to cease such acts," Ban told an Islamic summit in Senegal's capital Dakar.
Renewed violence in the Gaza Strip and West Bank has threatened prospects for an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas, who control the Strip.
Gaza militants fired at least 24 rockets into Israel on Thursday after an Israel Defense Forces raid in the West Bank Wednesday in which troops killed four militants, including three members of the militant faction Islamic Jihad.
No one was injured by the salvo against the border town of Sderot, the first such attack by Islamic Jihad since March 5.
The Israel Air Force, which had not operated in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for a week, attacked a rocket launcher in the town of Beit Hanun after Sderot was hit. No one was hurt.
Hamas said Israeli "aggression" risked destroying Cairo's efforts to mediate a ceasefire, seen as key to securing enough quiet for there to be progress in U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
But Hamas, which is seeking to reopen the territory's borders as part of a truce deal, stopped short of abandoning the ceasefire talks in which Islamic Jihad also participated.