"He asked the parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and UN premises and staff, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach all those in need."
United Nations, July 20 - The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Jerusalem, Ramallah and other cities during his official visit starting Sunday to broker peace in the Middle East, the spokesperson's office said Saturday.

The Secretary-General is travelling to the Middle East this weekend to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians and to help them, in coordination with regional and international actors, to end the violence and find a way forward, Xinhua reported citing the office.

Ban's first stop will be Doha, Qatar. From there, he will travel to Kuwait City, Cairo, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman, seeking to promote a durable ceasefire.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Thursday, Ban called for an immediate end to the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and Israeli retaliatory action.

He asked the parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and UN premises and staff, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach all those in need.

Israeli troops launched a ground offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip Thursday night after days of heavy bombardment. There was a brief truce earlier Thursday but fighting resumed along the Gaza border after the UN-brokered five-hour ceasefire for humanitarian aid ended Thursday afternoon.


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