BRUSSELS - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Friday she was deeply concerned at violence in Israel and Gaza, calling for rocket attacks by Hamas to end and urging Israel to ensure its response was proportionate.
"I am deeply concerned at the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip and deplore the loss of civilian lives on both sides," Ashton said in a statement.
"The rocket attacks by Hamas and other factions in Gaza which began this current crisis are totally unacceptable for any government and must stop," she said.
"Israel has the right to protect its population from these kinds of attacks. I urge Israel to ensure that its response is proportionate," she said.
Ashton said she had spoken about the situation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Egyptian president's office, as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.