Hague urges end to Gaza fighting

This Is Lancashire: William Hague said Israel had the right to defend itself against rocket attacks, but the world wanted to see de-escalation William Hague said Israel had the right to defend itself against rocket attacks, but the world wanted to see de-escalation

Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned of the "urgent need" to end the fighting in Gaza as Israel used ground forces for the first time in the current offensive.

Israeli troops were deployed on a brief raid into northern Gaza and airstrikes were targeted at security headquarters as the military response to the waves of rocket strikes being launched by Hamas was ramped up.

The United Nations has called for a ceasefire and Mr Hague yesterday urged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to take immediate action to quell the crisis.

He said Israel had a right to defend itself from rocket attacks but urged both sides to work to restore a ceasefire and said Britain stands ready to provide what support it can.

However m ilitants on both sides appear to be no closer to agreeing to the demands as the six day campaign escalates, which P alestinian officials say has left more than 160 dead.

Arriving in Vienna for talks with international counterparts over Iran's nuclear programme, Mr Hague said: "There's an urgent need to bring an end to the violence in Gaza and to restore the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.

"Many of us as foreign ministers of the different countries have been in discussions, including me yesterday, with president Abbas and the Israeli foreign minister and as you know the UN security council has made a statement about the need for this.

"So, I know we will be working further on that today."

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