A Palestinian official has told the United Nations Security Council the Israeli artillery strike that killed 18 people in the northern Gaza Strip was a war crime.

Palestinian U.N. observer Riyad Mansour told the council Thursday the strike on Wednesday amounts to state terrorism, and called for Israel to be held accountable under international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed regret for the deaths.  He said Israeli forces were responding to rocket attacks from the area, when a technical error caused artillery fire to hit the town of Beit Hanoun.

Israel's army says it is suspending artillery attacks on Gaza until an investigation is complete.

As thousands of Palestinians attended funerals for the victims, some Palestinian militant groups vowed revenge, including suicide bombings against Israel.

Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers have called an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss a common response to the Israeli attack.

In other news, Israeli media say that police are checking a report that Palestinians on the occupied West Bank have kidnapped an Israeli settler.

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