Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to press Israel to stop escalating tensions, Abbas' office said Saturday.
In the telephone conversation Friday, Abbas called for US intervention on behalf of the Palestinians to get Israel to stop launching airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
This month, at least 12 Palestinian civilians have been killed
in Israeli air strikes, in addition to at least 18 Palestinian terrorists who were the targets of the attacks.
Rice committed to press Israel to work to instill calm in the region and urged Abbas to do so as well, Abu Rdeneh Said.
Israel has expressed regret for the loss of civilians' lives in the air strike, but has said it will continue to target terrorists who fire rockets against southern Israel.
The homemade rockets rarely cause injuries but have severely disrupted life in parts of southern Israel.