Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Tuesday of military escalation in the Gaza Strip, saying Israeli forces were targeting civilians and worsening Palestinian hardship. "The situation is extremely difficult," he told reporters in Amman following talks with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit. "The Israelis are continuously escalating. They are targeting civilians on the one side and the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority on the other," said Abbas. Abbas said he had asked Arab states and the international community to help resolve the crisis, which was triggered by the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. Abbas also said he urged UN Secretary General Kofi Annan "to stop this assault" on the Gaza Strip.