BRUSSELS - The European Union said on Monday it was in touch with "parties in the region" to press for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The EU was following events in Gaza, where health officials said more than 166 Palestinians have been killed during a week-long Israeli offensive, with great concern.

"We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint, to avoid casualties and to return calm. We are in contact with parties in the region to do their utmost to achieve an immediate ceasefire," EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters, without giving details.

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