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Ceasefire calls as Israel pursues Gaza offensive

Ceasefire calls as Israel pursues Gaza offensive
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Meeting on Monday, the Arab League wants a halt to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Ahead of key talks in Cairo, the body’s Secretary General Nabil Elaraby discussed the situation with Palestinian Foreign Minster Riad al-Maliki.

The US, whose bid to broker a wider Israeli-Palestinian peace deal collapsed in April, has offered to help secure a truce.

And the EU says it is in touch with “parties in the region” to press for an immediate ceasefire.

“We are first of all condemning the indiscriminate fire into Israel by militant groups in the Gaza Strip and obviously we deplore the growing number of civilian casualties in Gaza caused by the Israeli retaliatory fire,” said EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.

“We say very clearly that safety and security of civilians must be of paramount importance. We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties and return calm.”

In the West Bank town of Ramallah on Sunday evening, some 200 Palestinian men and women marched in solidarity with Gaza – their demands for an end to Israel’s offensive echoed in protests around the world. For now though there is no end in sight to the worst flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence in almost two years.