UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday expressed deep concern at the loss of civilian lives in southern Israel and Gaza as a result of escalated violence there.
In a statement issued by his press office, Ban condemned rocket attacks against Israel by Hamas, which intensified Wednesday and killed an Israeli civilian in the southern town of Sederot.
He called on Hamas and other militant groups to "cease such acts of terrorism."
The secretary-general also condemned the killing of four Palestinian children, including an infant, in Gaza by Israeli strikes.
Ban called on Israel to "exercise maximum restraint and ensure respect for international humanitarian law so as not to endanger civilians."
"These events underscore the urgent need for a calming of violence, and must not be allowed to deter the continuation of the political process," he added in the statement.