"The retaliatory acts from both sides that have led to civilian deaths and injuries are deeply regrettable, and I call on all parties to exercise restraint and do everything necessary to avoid a further escalation of violence."
Canberra, July 12 - The Australian government has urged its nationals currently in the Gaza Strip to make arrangements to depart immediately.

The Australian embassy in Tel Aviv is arranging a one-off assisted departure of Australians from the Gaza Strip, Xinhua reported citing a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The ministry said Australians wishing to depart should contact DFAT's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre or the Australian embassy for information and advice on options.

DFAT said the security situation in the Gaza Strip was extremely dangerous and unpredictable due to the possibility of further Israeli military operations against militants. Australians are strongly advised not to go there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had hit more than 1,000 targets during its four-day-old offensive against Gaza militants, and that there are still more to go.

The statement also said there were no plans for any further assisted departures apart from the previously mentioned arrangement.

I continue to be deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the DFAT statement quoted Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as saying.

The actions of militants in Gaza, who are firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, are inexcusable and must be condemned.

The retaliatory acts from both sides that have led to civilian deaths and injuries are deeply regrettable, and I call on all parties to exercise restraint and do everything necessary to avoid a further escalation of violence.

The situation in Gaza Strip has deteriorated quickly after the abduction and killing of three Israeli youngsters and the brutal killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in retaliation.


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