Smoke rises following what Palestinian witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 10, 2014.(REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Thursday that it is more urgent than ever to avoid another Israeli-Palestinian war that could spill into the Mideast and called on both sides to agree to a cease-fire.Ban again condemned Hamas and Islamist Jihad for launching a barrage of more than 550 rockets and mortars into Israel -- but in a clear message to Israel he also said "the excessive use of force and endangering of civilian lives are also intolerable".Stressing that his "paramount concern" is the safety and well-being of civilians, he noted that 58 Palestinians, mainly civilians, are reported to have been killed and 339 injured, while Israeli attacks have destroyed or damaged some 150 homes and displaced 900 people.
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