Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian’s car at the Hawera checkpoint outside the town of Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: Kobi Wolf/IRIN

30 January 2013 ? The top United Nations humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territories is ?seriously concerned? about increased civilian casualties resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces.

?Using live ammunition against civilians may constitute excessive use of force and any such occurrences should be investigated in a timely, thorough, independent and impartial manner,? UN Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley said today in a statement.

He urged ?maximum restraint in order to avoid further civilian casualties.?

Eight Palestinian civilians, including three minors and one woman, have been killed since mid-November in separate incidents in the West Bank.

?Individuals found responsible must be held accountable,? Mr. Rawley noted. Israeli authorities are reportedly investigating some of the incidents.

In the statement, Mr. Rawley also underscored that the right of peaceful protest must be upheld and all protests should be kept strictly non-violent.

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