Germany condemns violence in Gaza

Germany is "deeply concerned" about the violence in Gaza, a government spokesman said Friday.

Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of Gaza Thursday after five days of intense fighting with rival Fatah forces of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We fiercely and decidedly condemn the attacks and ... the killing of innocent civilians and members of the legal security forces," spokesman Thomas Steg said. "Violence cannot be a means to solve inner Palestinian problems ... a humanitarian catastrophe has to be avoided by all means."

Speaking for the European Union, another government spokesman said that "the EU calls on everybody to support President Abbas and ... to do everything to avoid a spread of violence on the West Bank." Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

"The EU Presidency emphatically supports President Abbas' decision, in keeping with the Palestinian Basic Law, to dismiss the government and to appoint a caretaker government for the Palestinian territories," German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said.

Asked if Germany was planning to send peacekeeping troops to the region, Jaeger said, "the government cannot imagine a European military presence in the region."