China urges Israel to end deadly strikes in Gaza | world | Hindustan Times
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China urges Israel to end deadly strikes in Gaza

China urged Israel on Monday to immediately stop military operations in the Gaza Strip that have killed more than 300 people, while calling for the Israelis and Hamas to work towards peace.

world Updated: Dec 29, 2008 09:06 IST

China urged Israel on Monday to immediately stop military operations in the Gaza Strip that have killed more than 300 people, while calling for the Israelis and Hamas to work towards peace.

"The Chinese side is shocked and seriously concerned over the current military operations in Gaza that have caused a large number of deaths and injuries," Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement.

"The world is concerned with the Mideast peace process. To use armed force to resolve differences, especially to kill and wound ordinary citizens, runs counter to these efforts.

"The Chinese side strongly calls on the concerned parties to immediately cease military operations and adopt realistic measures aimed at easing the tense situation in Gaza."

In the statement posted on the foreign ministry's website, Li urged Israel and the Palestinians to end their dispute through negotiations, and not violence.

"(Both sides) need to resolve differences through dialogue, and push forward the realisation of peace and stability in the Mideast area at an early date," he said.

Although he did not specifically name Hamas, Chinese state press said Li was referring mainly to the Islamist movement when speaking about the Palestinian side.

Israeli tanks massed at the Gaza border on Monday as warplanes continued pounding Hamas targets in the densely populated enclave where raids have killed more than 300 people in two days.

Hamas responded to the continuing bombardment by firing rockets the farthest yet into Israel, with one striking not far from Ashdod, Israel's second-largest port. It caused no casualties, medics said.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the movement "reserves the right to hit back at this aggression with martyr operations," meaning suicide bombings of the sort Hamas has not carried out inside Israel since January 2005.