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    Russia's Lavrov urges end to Gaza violence, aid to enclave

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged an end to military actions in the Gaza Strip and the need to allow humanitarian aid into the enclave, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged an end to military actions in the Gaza Strip and the need to allow humanitarian aid into the enclave, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

    Lavrov held a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni on the initiative of the Israeli side, the ministry's press office said.

    At least 282 Palestinians are reported to have been killed after two days of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip in response to rocket and mortar fire by Hamas militants from the enclave against southern Israel. More than 680 Palestinians have been hospitalized with injuries.

    "The conversation was entirely focused on the Gaza Strip. On our part, we reaffirmed Russia's position in favor of an immediate halt to the military operations in the area that have led to numerous victims among Palestinians," the press office said.

    The Russian side stressed the need for a ceasefire to ensure security for civilians in southern Israel and also the importance of allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza, the press office said.

    The UN Security Council called early on Sunday for an immediate halt to all military activities in Gaza. The non-binding statement adopted by the 15-member body calls for an immediate halt to all violence and urges the parties to immediately stop all military actions.

    Israel opened on Sunday a border crossing into Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to the enclave controlled by the Islamic radial group Hamas, Israeli army officials said.

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