UN chief welcomes new truce in Gaza


United Nations Secretary-General Ban addresses an informal meeting of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on the conflict in Gaza at U.N. headquarters in New YorkUnited Nations:  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday welcomed another 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire brokered by Egypt.

“The Secretary-General welcomes Sunday’s announcement by Egypt that the Israelis and the Palestinians have accepted another 72 hours’ unconditional humanitarian cease-fire,” Xinhua reported citing a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.

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Ban expressed his strong hope that “this will give the two sides, under Egyptian auspices, another chance to agree on a durable cease-fire for the benefit of all civilian populations and as a starting point to address the underlying grievances.”

He continued to urge all concerned to work constructively to this end, adding that the UN stands ready to assist in the implementation of an agreement that would consolidate peace and allow for much-needed reconstruction and development of Gaza.

A previous 72-hour cease-fire brokered by Cairo ended Friday morning.

The ongoing Israeli offensive on Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has left over 1,900 Palestinians killed and about 10,000 others wounded, while Hamas’ attacks killed 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians.