6 July 2006

Secretary-General Condemns Firing of Rockets from Gaza into Israel; Calls again on Israel to Refrain from Actions Amounting to Collective Punishment

NEW YORK, 5 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today in Accra, Ghana, by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General once again condemns the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, such as the one which struck a school in the town of Ashkelon yesterday.  He also calls again on the Government of Israel to refrain from actions that amount to collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, and to ensure delivery of fuel, commodities and other essentials into Gaza.

The Secretary-General again reminds the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority of their obligations under international humanitarian law, regarding protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The Secretary-General repeats his call for the immediate release of Corporal Gilad Shalit.

The situation is dangerous and could be explosive.  The Secretary-General urges all concerned to step back from the brink.

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