“Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war,” Tor Wennesland, United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said in a tweet late Wednesday amid rising tensions in Israel and occupied Palestine.
“Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation,” he added.
“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating, and is being paid by ordinary people,” he added, pointing to Israel’s killing of Gazan civilians with airstrikes.
“UN is working with all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now,” Wennesland concluded.
Earlier on the same day, the death toll of Palestinian civilians killed in Israeli airstrikes on blockaded Gaza Strip rose to at least 30, including children amid an escalation sparked by violent unrest at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
10 children and one woman were among those killed in the blockaded Gaza that is controlled by Hamas and 152 people there were wounded, Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Two Israeli women were also killed by rockets fired from Gaza in response to recent Israeli aggression in the heavily-targeted coastal city of Ashkelon, just north of Gaza, said the emergency service Magen David Adom. The local Barzilai medical center said it was treating 70 injured.
Hamas' Qassem Brigades had vowed to turn the town "to hell" and rained down an intense volley, claiming to have fired 137 rockets towards Ashkelon and nearby Ashdod within just five minutes. Loud booms again rocked the town on Tuesday, where a rocket had ripped a gaping hole into the side of an apartment block, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter said.
Over 90% of recent rockets from Gaza were reported intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, Israeli army spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said earlier.
Israel fighter jets and attack helicopters have carried out more than 130 strikes on military targets in the enclave, said Conricus. Israeli officials said they have killed 15 Hamas commanders, while the group Palestinian group Islamic Jihad confirmed two of its senior figures were also killed.