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Obama calls Egyptian, Israeli leaders over Gaza violence


08:41, November 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu respectively to discuss the ongoing violence in Gaza, the White House said.

In his phone conversation with the Egyptian president, Obama, who is on an Asian tour, discussed with Morsi ways to "de-escalate the situation in Gaza," said a White House statement, adding that Obama underscored the "necessity" of Hamas ending rocket fire into Israel.

After that, Obama called Netanyahu and received an "update" on the situation in Gaza and Israel, according to the statement.

During both calls, Obama expressed regret for the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives, and agreed to stay in close touch with both leaders, said the statement.

Israel launched a military offensive against Gaza on Wednesday, having killed 104 Palestinians so far. Meanwhile, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups fired hundreds of missiles and rockets into Israel, reaching the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and killing three Israelis.

Washington has been asking Cairo to use its regional influence to help de-escalate the situation in Gaza. Media reports, citing an Egyptian security source, said on Monday that a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups might be reached on Monday night or Tuesday.

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