At least 17 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed in an upsurge of violence in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip Wednesday.
Wednesday's death toll is the highest since the Israeli military offensive in early March that killed more than 120 Gazans.
Hamas and medical officials say 17 Palestinians, most civilians, were killed in separate Israeli assaults today, including air strikes near al-Bureij refugee camp. A Reuters cameraman working in the area of the camp was also among the dead.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement late Wednesday expressing grave concern about the escalation of violence in the region. He condemned the civilian Palestinian casualties and called on Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law.
The Secretary General also repeated his condemnation of Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel and urged all parties to exercise restraint.