The United Nations’ Middle East peace envoy has said the conflict between Israel and Palestine is escalating towards full-scale war.
In response to heavy airstrikes on Gaza, including the deliberate destruction of two tower blocks, Palestinian militants fired hundreds of rockets deep into Israel, with some targeting the city of Tel Aviv.
At least 30 Palestinians and three people in Israel have been killed in two days of fighting.
“Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation,” Tor Wennesland, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, wrote on Twitter.
Tor Wennesland issued the warning Tuesday, after a day of intensifying violence.
“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now,” he said.
His warning came after Israeli warplanes launched raids beginning late Monday in the Gaza Strip in an offensive the army called Operation Guardians of the Wall.
The death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of the offensive on the Gaza Strip has risen to 30, including a woman and 10 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The ministry said Tuesday that the number of injuries also climbed to 203.
Tensions have been running high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem since last week, after an Israeli court ordered the evictions of Palestinian families.
Palestinians protesting in solidarity with residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces.
Three Israelis have also been killed and 31 others injured in Palestinian rocket attacks.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
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