UN chief Ban heading to Middle East in attempt to quell Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza

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A U.N. official says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will leave Saturday for the Middle East to help mediate the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman was speaking Friday afternoon at a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on the conflict in Gaza.

He also said a ceasefire is "indispensable" for urgently needed humanitarian efforts to succeed. He said the U.N. refugee agency was already stretched to its limit.

Thousands of Israeli soldiers crossed into the Palestinian territory on the 10th day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel.

Jordan asked for Friday's meeting after Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza on Thursday.