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UN Concerned Over Spiraling Gaza Violence

Palestinians flee from Gaza's eastern Shejaiya district on July 20, 2014.

The UN Security Council has expressed concern over the rising number of casualties in the Gaza Strip and called for an end to hostilities.

The emergency meeting late on July 20 came after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned as an "atrocious action" the killing of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by Israeli shelling.

Speaking in Qatar on the first stop of a regional tour, Ban also called for an immediate end to almost two weeks of fighting that has cost more than 500 lives.

More than 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed on July 20 in the bloodiest fighting in the 13-day offensive.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to travel to Cairo on July 21 to meet with Egyptian officials about the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador to the UN has denied claims by Hamas's armed wing that it had captured an Israeli soldier.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters