CAIRO (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made an impassioned plea for Israel and Hamas to end their conflict and vehemently condemned the shelling of a U.N.-run school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.
"I was shocked and appalled by what has happened in Beit Hanoun," Ban told reporters, referring to the northern Gaza town where the attack, in which at least 15 people died according to Gaza authorities, took place.
"It is totally unacceptable," he said in Cairo, before sitting down for talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the incident underscored the need to reach a ceasefire to end a conflict in which more than 760 Palestinians have died.
"I am telling to the parties both Israelis and Hamas, Palestinians, that it’s morally wrong to kill your own people," Ban added. "You must stop fighting and enter into a dialogue. Whatever differences you may have, this is wrong."
"Why are you continuing to kill people? There are many other ways to resolve this issue without killing each other. I am angry about ... what they are doing," he added. "Now is the time to sit down together instead of killing each other."
Neither Kerry nor Ban addressed who might be responsible for the school shelling.
Gazan authorities blamed the Israeli forces for the incident. The Israeli military said its troops were fighting gunmen from Hamas, which runs Gaza, in the area and that it was investigating.
Kerry spent his fourth day in the region talking to world leaders to try to end the 17-day conflict, in which Israel has lost at least 32 soldiers in clashes as well as three civilians killed inside Israel by Palestinian rockets and mortar fire.
(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Cynthia Osterman)