UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the killing by the Israeli military of four Palestinian civilians, two of them children, in the Gaza Strip.
Ban "is very concerned at an escalating situation in Gaza and southern Israel -- he reiterates as well his condemnation of rocket fire by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including from populated areas, against civilian targets in southern Israel," the UN chief said in statement on Tuesday.
"He calls on all to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law."
Earlier on Tuesday eight Palestinians -- among them four militants -- were killed in two separate Israeli attacks on the eastern part of Gaza City.
In one of the attacks, four civilian victims were killed when an Israeli shell hit a family home in Shejaiya, medics said.
The surge in bloodshed follows days of rising cross-border violence, which has ramped up tensions between Israel and Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers and again raised fears of a large-scale Israeli military incursion.