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Jordan's King Warns Israel Over Gaza


Jordan's King Abdullah has warned Israeli leaders that putting further restraints on Palestinians will create more tension.

The palace issued the king's statement after he held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in Aqaba, and two days after Abdullah met secretly with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense minister Ehud Barak, also in Jordan.

Israeli and western media Thursday report that the king asked the Israeli leaders not to launch large-scale military operations in the Gaza Strip.

The reports said Mr. Olmert told King Abdullah that Israel cannot restrain itself if Gaza militants continue firing rockets into Israel.

The king added that Israel must take immediate steps to end the suffering of Palestinians.

Israel has blamed the rocket attacks for imposing a blockade of the Gaza Strip that has left the territory acutely short of food, fuel and other supplies.

Also Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his call for Israel to lift its blockade during a phone conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. An aide to Livni said the foreign minister pledged retaliation against Palestinian rocket fire. Livni also called on the world to condemn the attacks.

The U.N. and humanitarian relief workers have called for Israel to open the borders and allow food to reach 750,000 Palestinians. U.N. officials have warned that supplies will likely run out in two days.

In other news, witnesses and Israeli officials say a group of Jewish settlers spray-painted graffiti insulting the Prophet Mohammad on a mosque and cemetery in West Bank city. The mosque was close to a building in Hebron, where some 150 Jewish settlers have been ordered to vacate, due to a dispute over the building's ownership. Israeli security forces were working to remove the graffiti on Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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