Female relatives of Palestinian Mahmud al-Sewati mourn during his funeral in Gaza City on July 12, 2014.
Mahmud Hams—AFP/Getty Images
July 12, 2014 1:43 PM EDT

The United Nations Security Council called Saturday for a ceasefire in the Palestinian-Israeli bombardments as casualties in the Gaza Strip continue to rise.

All 15 Security Council members approved of a statement that called for a de-escalation of violence. The statement also suggested direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution, the Associated Press reports.

The Security Council did not give a timeline for a ceasefire, but Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour said it should be understood to go into effect immediately.

Israeli airstrikes have killed over 120 people in the Gaza Strip since bombardments began this week. Over half of the casualties are civilians, including women and children. A mosque and a center for the disabled were struck Saturday, while Israel later said the mosque was being used to store rockets to be fired at Israeli territory.

In total, around 1,000 Palestinians have been killed or wounded in recent bombardments of the Gaza Strip, said Mansour. No Israeli civilians have been killed as a result of the nearly 700 rockets fired into Israeli territory over the past several days.

The Security Council said it was concerned with the “the protection and welfare of civilians on both sides” and called for “respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”


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