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US again blocks UN Security Council statement on Israel, Gaza

The US blocked a UN Security Council statement on spiraling violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel as Tel Aviv continued to ramp up its offensive on the besieged coastal enclave, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

China, Norway and Tunisia introduced the draft statement that called for an immediate ceasefire during an emergency council meeting on Sunday. Diplomats who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity confirmed the US blocked the approval of such a statement for the third time in a week.

Council members had until noon on Monday to negotiate the statement.

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed, including 59 children and 35 women, in Israeli attacks in Gaza since last week, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 1,305 people have also been injured and dozens of buildings destroyed or damaged in the Israeli offensive.

The recent tensions that started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where Palestinian residents are facing the prospect of expulsion.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah are located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

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