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UN Security Council deadlock on Israeli airstrikes


The UN Security Council has taken no action after holding an emergency session to discuss Israeli strikes in Gaza. The attacks have killed at least eight people, including the head of the Hamas military wing.

Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, president of the 15-nation Security Council this month, told reporters after the 90-minute closed-door meeting that council members had only agreed to issue a statement that an emergency meeting took place and other procedural details.

Before the meeting took place UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had released statements saying that he had spoken on the telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

US President Barack Obama also spoke to the two leaders and called for a de-escalation of violence in Gaza. Obama reiterated with both leaders that Israel had the right to self-defense and also called on Netanyahu to try to avoid civilian casualties in reprisal strikes.

Border tension grows

Wednesday's airstrike targeted and killed top Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in Gaza City, and killed a second person who was a passenger in his car. It was the first of over 20 airstrikes to hit the Gaza Strip, which have killed up to eight people and wounded at least 30 in total.

In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implied that more attacks could be on the horizon.

"Today we sent a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organisations, and if it becomes necessary we are prepared to expand the operation," Netanyahu said.

The attack on Jabari sparked an immediate response from Palestinians in Gaza City. A spokesman from Hamas said the attack on Jabari had "opened the gates of hell."

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas released a statement through the official WAFA news agency condemning Wednesday's attack.

Increased attacks in recent days from the Gaza Strip on Israel prompted Wednesday's response, and comments from the Israeli military indicated the use of ground forces was not off the table if the violence continued.

hc/lw (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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