UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on Israel and Hamas to "stop this dangerous escalation" in the Gaza Strip to avoid further bloodshed in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Ban's spokesman said.
"The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the continued violence in Gaza and Israel, and deeply worried by the rising cost in terms of civilian lives," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said. "Rocket attacks are unacceptable and must stop at once. Israel must exercise maximum restraint."
Nesirky added that Ban "plans to visit the region shortly." UN diplomats have said that Ban will visit Israel and Egypt next week.