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Israel pummels Gaza; Kerry steps up diplomatic push

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Israel ceasefire talks had made some progress. In a blow to Israel's economy and a public relations coup for Hamas, U.S. and European air carriers halted flights to the Jewish state citing concern over a militant rocket from Gaza that hit a house near Ben Gurion airport. Israel urged a re-think, saying its air space was safe. Adding to pressure on Israel, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday there was "a strong possibility" that it was committing war crimes in Gaza, where 645 Palestinians have died in the fighting, mostly civilians.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:14:05 -0400
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