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UN head urges Israel, Palestine to continue talks

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel and Palestine to halt further military action in Gaza and carry on with negotiations in Cairo to reach a permanent ceasefire.  The statements by Ban Ki-moon came on Friday after violence flared again following the end of a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian factions.
Ban said in a statement: “The parties should swiftly find a way back to respect the humanitarian ceasefire and continue negotiations in Cairo."
“The extension of the ceasefire is absolutely essential for talks to progress and to address the underlying issues of the crisis as soon as possible."
"More suffering and death of civilians caught up in this conflict is intolerable," he added.
Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip for almost a month since July 7, killing at least 1894 Palestinians and injured 9817 others.
Thousands of homes have also been destroyed in the offensive. At least 64 Israeli soldiers have died and three civilians have been killed by rocket fire, according to Israeli figures.
Violence flared again on Friday following the end of a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian factions as indirect talks continued to be mediated by Cairo, aimed at agreeing a long-term truce.
The Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, has been suffering a crippling blockade by Israel since 2006.

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