Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellReuters

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, on Thursday expressed “deep concern” over the latest escalation of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip and called for a ceasefire.

“The EU is deeply alarmed by this new round of violence and the deteriorating security situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, and by on-going developments in and around Gaza, which has claimed unacceptable civilian casualties including children,” Borrell said in a statement.

“We urge an immediate comprehensive ceasefire which will end Israeli military operations in Gaza and current rocket firing against Israel, which is unacceptable. International humanitarian law must be respected,” he added.

Borrell expressed support for the joint declaration of the so-called "Munich group" – comprised of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Egypt, Germany and Jordan – adding, “In particular, the EU commends the efforts of Egypt to bring about an immediate ceasefire.”

“The EU will continue to work with all parties to restore a political horizon for the two-state solution and the stability of the region,” he concluded.

The statement came as rocket attacks on Israel continued. On Thursday evening, a rocket fired by terrorists from the Gaza Strip struck a residential building in Rehovot.

A 70-year-old man was killed in the rocket strike, and five people were injured. This is the first fatality on the Israeli side since Operation Shield and Arrow began Monday night.

Four of the injured are in moderate condition, while one person is in light condition. The injured were taken to Kaplan Hospital.

Also on Thursday, an 82-year-old woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel from a rocket fired by Gaza terrorists in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated the woman and evacuated her to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

Later on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an assessment of the situation, at the conclusion of which they ordered that Operation Shield and Arrow continue for as long as is necessary.