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India calls for restraint in West Asia

Voicing concern over escalating violence in West Asia and arrest of some Palestinian leaders by Israeli forces, India voiced need for restraint.

delhi Updated: May 26, 2007 18:15 IST

Voicing concern over escalating violence in West Asia and arrest of some Palestinian leaders by Israeli forces, India on Saturday advocated the need for restraint and return to dialogue for peace.

A day after Israeli air attacks in Palestinian areas, including near the Palestinian Prime Minister's residence, India expressed hope that the peace process would be brought back on track and resumed as soon as possible.

"We are concerned about the escalating violence in Palestine and Israel, especially that is directed against innocent civilians," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

Four Palestinians, including a child, were wounded in an Israeli air raid on a post, south of Gaza City.

The Palestinians said one raid hit a small guardhouse near the home of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in the Shati refugee camp. The Israeli military denied his house had been the target.

Sarna also voiced concern over the arrest of Hamas leaders, including a Palestinian Minister and four Mayors, saying the detention of "elected representatives of the people by another country can only lead to further complications and violence".

Israel arrested 33 of senior Hamas members from the West Bank, including Palestinian Education Minister Nasser al-Deen Shaer two days back.

Four Mayors of West Bank towns and three Hamas parliamentarians were among those apprehended.

"All sides must make efforts to exercise restraint and return to the path of dialogue and peace," Sarna said.