UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council opened urgent talks on the escalating violence in Gaza to consider ways of stepping up ceasefire efforts.

The 15-member Council met as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was holding talks with leaders in the region amid a spike in violence that left more than 100 Palestinians dead in a single day.

“We have to know from the secretary-general the result of his efforts, his travels and whether there is any hope of moving forward to a ceasefire,” said French Ambassador Gerard Araud as he headed into the meeting.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas had called for the urgent talks, saying the “situation is intolerable” in Gaza and describing the Israeli attacks as “crimes against humanity. “
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the latest round of Gaza violence rose to 472, medics said, after announcing the deaths of another 34 people early Monday.

Emergency services spokesman for the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qudra said two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air strike in eastern Gaza city. He said the body of another Palestinian was found buried under a demolished home east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

Qudra said 72 of the Palestinians had been killed on Sunday in Shejaiya, between Gaza City and the Israeli border. Qudra said 80 percent of the Shejaiya fatalities were “old men, women and children.” He said another 400 Palestinians were wounded there.

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