As the UN Security Council on Thursday night began emergency consultations to address the escalation of violence in Gaza UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged an immediate halt to Israel's ground operation.
Ban said in a statement that he was "deeply concerned over the serious further escalation" of violence in Gaza.
The statement said Ban had spoken with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "and conveyed his extreme concern and disappointment" at the incursion.
"He is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations" and "called for an immediate end to the ground operation," the statement said.
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