The U.N. chief called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to the region with a message that escalation of the week-long conflict was in nobody’s interest.
Nevertheless, Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire continued for a seventh day.
Egypt was trying to broker a truce between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement. An Egyptian intelligence source said “there is still no breakthrough and Egypt is working to find middle ground”.
Israel’s military on Tuesday targeted about 100 sites in Gaza, including ammunition stores and the Gaza headquarters of the National Islamic Bank. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said six Palestinians were killed.
Israeli police said more than 60 rockets were fired from Gaza by mid-day, and 25 of the projectiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system. The military said an officer was wounded.
Some 115 Palestinians have died in a week of fighting, the majority of them civilians, including 27 children, hospital officials said. Three Israelis died last week when a rocket from Gaza struck their house.
In Cairo, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire and said an Israeli ground operation in Gaza would be a “dangerous escalation” that must be avoided.
He had held talks in Cairo with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil before travelling to Israel for discussions with its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. Ban planned to return to Egypt on Wednesday to see Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, who was unavailable on Tuesday due to the death of his sister.