Jordan condemns Israel 'escalation' in Gaza

DVBP979 4 W 0264 JOR /AFP-VE87 Israel-Palestinians-conflict-Gaza-attacks-Jordan REAX Jordan condemns Israel 'escalation' in Gaza AMMAN, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Jordan on Sunday urged an "immediate" halt to Israel's "military escalation" in the Gaza Strip, warning that it threatens regional stability. "Jordan rejects and condemns Israel's military escalation and operations in Gaza that have killed civilians as well as Egyptian officers," information minister Abdullah Abu Rumman said in a statement carried by the state-run Petra news agency. Jordan, which signed with Israel a 1994 peace treaty, "rejects any acts that target civilians," said Abu Rumman, who also acts as government spokesman. "The kingdom calls for an immediate halt to this dangerous military escalation in order to avoid repercussions that could threaten the security and stability of the region," he said. Tensions in and around the Gaza Strip have soared since Thursday when militants staged a series of deadly shooting attacks in the Negev desert, killing eight Israelis and prompting a wave of bloody tit-for-tat exchanges. It also sparked a diplomatic crisis with Egypt after Cairo said five policemen were killed by Israeli fire as soldiers hunted down the remaining gunmen involved in the Negev ambushes. Since Thursday, 15 Palestinians have been killed, nine of them militants, and 47 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza, while one Israeli has been killed and dozens injured in a barrage of more than 100 rockets and mortars fired on cities and towns in the south. akh/hkb AFP 211022 GMT AUG 11