The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, on Friday expressed concern over the security situation after Israel launched Operation Breaking Dawn against the Islamic Jihad, which began with the elimination of senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Tayseer al-Jabari.
“I am deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation between Palestinian militants and Israel, including the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza. This takes place amidst mounting tensions across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent weeks,” he said in a statement.
“In the past few hours, at least 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes. I am deeply saddened by reports that a five-year-old child has been killed in these strikes. There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians,” added Wennesland.
“The continuing escalation is very dangerous. The launching of rockets must cease immediately, and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation,” he said.
“The progress made in gradually opening Gaza since the end of the May escalation risks being undone, leading to even greater humanitarian needs at a time when global resources are stretched and international financial support for a renewed humanitarian effort in Gaza will not be easily available,” warned the UN envoy.
“The UN is fully engaged with all concerned in an attempt to avoid a further conflict which would have devastating consequences, mainly for civilians. The responsibility is with the parties to avoid this from happening,” concluded Wennesland.
Responding to Wennesland's statement, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted, "While the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is launching missiles at Israeli civilians, the UN envoy expresses ‘deep concern’ for the neutralization of a senior terrorist behind an imminent attack on Israelis. Will he also express deep concern over the neutralization of al-Zawahiri?"
Wennesland’s statement came as terrorists from Gaza fired a barrage of dozens of rockets, including a barrage towards central Israel.
IDF officials estimated that as of 10:25 p.m., the Islamic Jihad fired at least 100 rockets toward Israel, of which at least 60 entered Israeli territory and at least 33 were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
Earlier on Friday, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides commented on Israel’s Operation Breaking Dawn against the Islamic Jihad.
“The United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself. We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides for calm,” he tweeted.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)