The United Nations’ Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged all parties involved in the escalating violence in Gaza to halt further hostilities.

Guterres, in a statement by his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, called on parties to cease fighting or risk creating an “uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis.”

The UN chief said: “The ongoing military escalation has caused great suffering and destruction. It has claimed scores of civilian lives, including, tragically, many children.

“The fighting has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole.”

Guterres, who called for meditation efforts to intensify a ceasefire, said the UN was “actively involved in such efforts,” which are also key to maintaining the lifesaving flow of aid to Gaza.

Similarly, the UN humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA) also raised the alarm on Friday over the continued escalation of violence, noting that civilians on both sides were bearing the brunt.

Violence has continued to escalate between Israel and Palestine as protests and airstrikes rock Gaza.

More than 70 people in Gaza and at least 16 in Israel have been killed since the fighting began on Monday.

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