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    The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern on Wednesday over an escalation in the violence in the Gaza Strip where the death toll has climbed to over 1,000 Palestinians.

    MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern on Wednesday over an escalation in the violence in the Gaza Strip where the death toll has climbed to over 1,000 Palestinians.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, on Wednesday.

    The foreign ministers discussed "the recent developments in the Gaza Strip and the efforts taken by the international community to reach a speedy ceasefire," the ministry said in a statement.

    The Israeli offensive in Gaza that started on December 27 has so far killed over 1,000 Palestinians and wounded over 4,000. Israel's casualties have been estimated at 13 people, including 10 military personnel.

    During the phone conversation, Lavrov expressed "deep concern over the rising death toll in the military confrontation" and urged "an end to the bloodshed" as well as the implementation of the UN resolution calling for an immediate and durable ceasefire in Gaza.

    The minister also marked the "importance" of mediation efforts by Egypt in ending the crisis.

    Lavrov stressed that Russia would continue to ensure the security of Russian nationals who remained in the conflict zone.

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