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UNSC to call emergency meeting over Gaza invasion
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The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Saturday evening, hours after Israel launched a ground invasion into Gaza, UN officials said in New.

On the eighth day of Israeli bombing raids on Gaza, Israeli troops have entered the area, according to media reports.

The Israeli invasion began at a time when the international community intensified diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire in Gaza and southern Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and several Arab foreign ministers are expected to be at the UN Headquarters in New York to press the Security Council for adopting an Arab draft resolution that would condemn Israel and demand an immediate cease-fire to be fully observed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to meet with Abbas and the Arab foreign ministers on Monday, the UN officials said.

The United Nations is now the only major international player left in Gaza since Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip eight days ago.

Israel has cited rocket and other attacks by militants in Gaza against Israeli civilians as the reason for its military offensive and closing crossings into Gaza for much of the previous two months.

The international community, including Ban and the Security Council, has called on both Israel and Hamas to put an immediate end to the violence and bloodshed in Gaza and southern Israel.

During another emergency Council meeting earlier this week, Ban said the impact of the violence has been "nothing short of terrifying" for the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, and stressed the need for an urgent halt to the violence and for crucial humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

"I urge all members of the international community, in particular those in the region, to exert what influence they have on the parties to end this violence now," Ban told the meeting, which was convened at the request of Libya and Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group.

"I welcome the efforts underway, including by Arab and European leaders but I must repeat: not enough has been done, and more is urgently required," he said, stressing the urgent need for an end to the conflict.

(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2009)

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