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'Both sides have a responsibility to try to bring this to an end'

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Israel stepped up its aerial attacks on Gaza overnight. It said it carried out strikes on up to 150 targets, including the interior ministry, while Palestinian militants fired about a dozen rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.

Eighteen Palestinians were killed in Israeli raids yesterday, while rockets from Gaza killed three Israelis.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told Today presenter Sarah Montague that Israel was reacting to a recent "spike" in rocket attacks from Gaza.

"What Israel has done is obviously the Israeli response to that. The thing that would bring this quickly to an end is would be Hamas to stop launching rockets at Israel. But of course there are also responsibilities on Israel to reduce tensions to take every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, to observe international humanitarian law, to avoid civilian casualties.

"So both sides have a responsibility to try to bring this to an end."

Mr Hague also spoke about the talks that he will be attending in London today with the leaders of Syria's newly-formed opposition coalition.

The UK government, he said, will urge the group to put forward a clear plan for political transition.

Britain is considering official recognition of the coalition but the foreign secretary said he wanted to find out more about the group first.

"We would like to be able to be in a position to recognise them as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people but I do want to hear more about their plans… and how much support they have inside Syria."


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