Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is criticizing Israel for the death and suffering of many Palestinian children during last summer's conflict in Gaza and is urging the Israeli government to take immediate steps to prevent such killings.

The U.N. chief referred to the controversy over his decision not to include Israel on his annual list of parties that kill or injure children in armed conflict.

Nonetheless, he singled out Israel's actions in a speech Thursday to a Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict.

Ban expressed deep alarm at the Gaza killings and urged Israel to review its policies.

The secretary-general's latest report said at least 561 youths were killed and 4,271 injured in the Gaza conflict, almost all Palestinians.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor called the report unbalanced and biased.