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Arab League to appeal for Gaza 'no-fly zone'

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa announced Sunday his intention to appeal to the UN Security Council for a no-fly zone over Gaza, where repeated Israeli air strikes have left at least 18 people dead since Thursday.

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AFP - Arab League chief Amr Mussa said on Sunday the organisation will ask the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza, which Israel has pounded with air strikes in response to rocket fire.

Mussa told an emergency meeting of Arab League ambassadors that "the Arab bloc in the United Nations has been directed to ask for the convention of the Security Council to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and impose a no-fly zone."

France 24's Gallagher Fenwick reports from Jerusalem, Israel

Israeli and Palestinian officials were on Sunday floating a ceasefire to end fighting in the coastal strip where Israeli air strikes have killed at least 18 people since Thursday.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of an even stronger response if more rockets are fired from the Palestinian territory controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

The flare-up came after an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza hit an Israeli school bus on Thursday, wounding two people, one of them critically.

Even if Arab representatives at the United Nations succeed in convening a Security Council meeting, the United States, a close ally of Israel, is likely to veto it.

The Arab League request for a no-fly zone over Gaza may have been inspired by a UN-sanctioned aerial blockade for Libya to halt forces loyal to Moamer Kadhafi harming civilians.

Arab League backing for that no-fly zone was seen as crucially important by the United States when it pressed for a UN resolution that authorised it and other countries to keep Libyan planes grounded.
 

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