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Ban demands immediate release of captured Israeli soldier

AFP

Activists demonstrate requesting that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon intervene to bring peace to the conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 30, 2014Activists demonstrate requesting that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon intervene to bring peace to the conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 30, 2014

Activists demonstrate requesting that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon intervene to bring peace to the conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 30, 2014Activists demonstrate requesting that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon intervene to bring peace to the conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 30, 2014

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded Friday that an Israeli soldier captured in Gaza be released immediately and condemned "in the strongest terms" the reported ceasefire violation by Hamas.

Ban called on Israel and Hamas to show restraint and return to the 72-hour truce that collapsed after two soldiers were killed and a third reportedly captured near the southern city of Rafah.

"The secretary-general demands the immediate and unconditional release of the captured soldier," his spokesman said in a statement.

Ban was "shocked and profoundly disappointed" by the renewed violence and warned that if reports of the attack on Israeli soldiers were confirmed "this would constitute a grave violation of the ceasefire," the statement added.

"Such moves call into question the credibility of Hamas's assurances to the United Nations."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office accused Hamas and other Gaza militants of "flagrantly violating" the ceasefire.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum shot back, saying "it is the (Israeli) occupation which violated the ceasefire. The Palestinian resistance acted based on... the right to self-defense."

The United Nations has repeatedly called for a humanitarian ceasefire to give respite to civilians from fighting in Gaza that has killed nearly 1,500 on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 63 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the other.

Date created : 2014-08-01