During a visit to Sderot on Thursday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said nothing can justify the launching of rockets and mortars from Gaza, adding that Israeli civilians should not have to live under the threat of terror.
Any attempt to harm civilians must be condemned, Ban told reporters at the Qassam-stricken town in south Israel.
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The UN secretary general mentioned that during his visit to Gaza earlier in the day he was exposed to what he referred to as the suffering of civilians due to poverty and IDF operations. He called on both sides to honor human rights.
Ban said he met with a group of Israeli students who spoke to him about the death of their friend Daniel Viflic in April. The 16 year old was critically wounded when an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza hit a school bus in the Negev. He died of his wounds 10 days later. Some of the students told the UN chief they survived only because they got off the bus before it was hit.
The UN chief also said his visit to the region was aimed at encouraging the exploratory talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman. He said the sides must avoid unnecessary provocations and take trust-building steps.
While visiting the educational campus at the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, Ban told students that he has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to halt the violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators.
Earlier Thursday, relatives of Palestinians held in Israeli jails hurled slippers at an armored vehicle carrying Ban as it was travelling by the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.
About 40 relatives of Palestinian prisoners gathered at the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel, hoisting posters with pictures of their loved ones and signs in English and Arabic reading, "Ban Ki-moon, enough bias to Israel." Two of the protesters reportedly threw slippers at his car.
According to the Al-Arabiya network, the protesters also hurled rocks at the car.
AP contributed to the report
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