The European Union said it is following with deep concern the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories, and called for an immediate end to Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip to avoid further casualties.
The Office of the European External Action Service in Brussels issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it deplores “the growing number of civilian casualties, reportedly among them children, caused by Israeli retaliatory fire.”
The statement continued: “The EU calls on all sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties and re-establish calm. To this end the EU calls on parties in the region to do their utmost to achieve an immediate ceasefire.”
The latest escalation of violence started on 12 June, when Israeli occupation forces began a mass arrest campaign against Hamas in response to the abduction of three Israeli settlers, collectively punishing Hamas for their deaths, despite the movement denying responsibility.
Fighters in the Gaza Strip responded by firing rockets at Israel. Since then, Israel has launched a mass assault by air and sea on the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The Guardian newspaper cited the spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, Ashraf Al-Qidra, who said “the total number of Palestinians killed over the past three days now stands at 77, with over 500 people injured in the tiny coastal strip.”