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Kerry to push for 'immediate' Gaza ceasefire: Obama

Published on Jul 22, 2014 12:04 AM

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry is to push for an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza when he arrives later Monday in Cairo, President Barack Obama said.

Mr Obama also said that while Israel has the right to defend itself against a barrage of Hamas rockets, Washington has "serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives."

"That is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a ceasefire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel," he said.

Mr Kerry was headed to Egypt, which has been a mediator in past Israel-Palestinian conflicts and has taken the lead in trying to broker a truce between Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip.

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