UN warns over Israel-Palestinian escalation
New York - UN leader Ban Ki-moon raised fears on Thursday of an "escalation" in the Israel-Palestinian conflict after seven Israelis were killed in attacks on Thursday.
Ban "is concerned at the risk of escalation and calls for all to act with restraint," said UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.
The attacks came amid an increasingly tense diplomatic deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which has said it will seek recognition as a state at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
"The secretary general strongly condemns today's co-ordinated terror attacks in southern Israel," said his spokesperson, expressing condolences to the families of the victims and the injured.
"The secretary general hopes that the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice. He is concerned at the risk of escalation and calls for all to act with restraint."
Three co-ordinated attacks in southern Israel near the Egyptian border killed at least seven people, according to Israeli authorities.
The bloodshed sparked a massive manhunt for the killers and at one stage Israeli troops staged a running gun battle with the militants, which left seven of the gunmen dead, Israeli security sources said.
A subsequent Israeli air strike on the southern Gaza town of Rafah killed six people, Palestinian medics said.