UNITED NATIONS, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Sunday night called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in the Gaza Strip.
Following an emergency closed-door consultation, Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda, this month's president of the Security Council, told reporters that the council had a "sober" meeting given the seriousness of the situation.
Gasana said the council members called for an immediate ceasefire and respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.
"The members of the Security Council called for an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the Nov. 2012 ceasefire agreement," he said, expressing the council's serious concern about the growing number of casualties.
The 15-member council also emphasized the need to improve the humanitarian situation, including through humanitarian pauses, such as the five-hour truce brokered last week by the UN Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.
Gasana also voiced support to the efforts of Egypt to broker a ceasefire.
Diplomats said the emergency meeting was requested by council member Jordan, as regional leaders met in Doha for urgent talks on a ceasefire.
At least 471 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,000 people injured since Israel stepped up an all-out aerial and ground operation on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on July 8, to end alleged rocket firing into Israel.
On the Israeli side, one civilian and 13 soldiers have been killed since the escalation of violence.
After the emergency consultation, the most powerful body of the UN is holding another meeting on Ukraine, according to Gasana.
The council may vote on a draft resolution to condemn the attack which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, demand armed groups allow access to the crash site and call on states in the region to cooperate with an international investigation.
Israeli envoy dismisses Hamas' kidnapping claim
UNITED NATIONS, July 20 (Xinhua) -- An Israeli envoy on Sunday dismissed the Hamas armed wing's claim that they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier.
Ron Prosor, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, made the clarification at the UN headquarters as the Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine.Full story
"Kidnapped" Israeli soldier among 13 dead earlier: source
JERUSALEM/GAZA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday evening refused to comment on Hamas' claim of having kidnapped an Israeli soldier, but a military source told Xinhua that the "kidnapped" was among the 13 Israeli soldier who died in earlier clashes with militants.
A Hamas spokesperson said on Sunday that they had "captured a Zionist soldier," releasing a photograph with his name and military ID number. The IDF later said they are looking into the report and cannot confirm nor deny it so far. Full story
Abbas urges for UN emergency session on Gaza
RAMALLAH, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss Israel's ongoing large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip.
"The failure of the Security Council to make a decision on ending the Israeli aggression and the massacres against our people doesn't relieve it from its responsibility in accordance to the international law," Abbas said in a televised speech. "Therefore, I'm calling on the Security Council to hold another emergency session tonight." Full story