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UN chief wars Israel against Gaza ground offensive

(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday (November 20) called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, saying an Israeli ground operation in the Palestinian enclave would be a "dangerous escalation" that must be avoided. Speaking at a news conference in Cairo after talks with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, Ban said he supported Egyptian-led efforts to bring an end to the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Hamas-run territory. "From Cairo I will go to Israel where I urge the Israeli leadership to end the violence and firmly reiterate that Israel must respect its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law. We all must recognize that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must be respected in accordance with international law, but a ground operation would be a dangerous escalation," he told reporters. Despite international efforts to secure a ceasefire, Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes continued for a seventh day. Hamas militants said they fired 16 missiles at the southern Israeli city of Beersheba after Israel's military targeted roughly 100 sites in Gaza overnight. Some 110 Palestinians have died in a week of fighting, the majority of them civilians, including 27 children. Three Israelis died last week when a Gaza missile struck their house.

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