UNITED NATIONS - A senior UN official has renewed a plea to cease targeted assassinations, citing a missile strike in Gaza that killed three children only a week after a similar deadly attack.
Thirteen Palestinian civilians, most of them children, have been killed by recent Israeli missiles aimed at rocket crews in Gaza.
The latest such incident occurred on Wednesday, when a woman was killed and 13 other Palestinians were wounded in what appeared to be an Israeli strike against Gaza militants, witnesses said.
Palestinians have warned the attacks would fuel more violence but Israel defends them as necessary to end cross-border rocket salvos by Palestinian militants.
"We would like to once again underscore the need for Israel to cease targeted killings, which continue to claim civilian lives," Ibrahim Gambari, the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, told the Security Council.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "particularly disturbed that despite his prior expressions of concern, this pattern was repeated yesterday, when three children were killed and a number of bystanders injured, during another attempted targeted killing by Israel, also in a crowded neighborhood in Gaza," Gambari said.
At the same time, the United Nations recorded 176 rockets fired by Palestinians from Gaza toward Israel during the past month, he said during the council's regular monthly briefing on Middle East developments.
While the Palestinian rocket firings caused no deaths, some hit Israeli towns and cities, injuring five civilians and damaging private property and government buildings including a school, he said.
Annan has repeatedly pressed the Palestinian Authority to act decisively against terrorism "including action to end indiscriminate rocket attacks that endanger Israeli civilian lives," he said.
At least 64 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 11 children, and at least 328 Palestinians have been injured during the past month, Gambari said. Forty-nine of those killed and 259 of the injured were victims of violence between Israelis and Palestinians while the rest were casualties of intra-Palestinian violence.
One Israeli was killed and 18 injured in Israeli-Palestinian violence during the same period, he said.