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Hillary Clinton Detours To Middle East To Try To Get Gaza Ceasefire

MA'AN (Palestinian Territories), THE JERUSALEM POST (Israel) CNN, CBS NEWS (U.S.) REUTERS


As fighting intensified on the seventh day of the Israel-Gaza conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was headed Tuesday to Israel to try to accelerate ceasefire talks.

Senior officials have confirmed that Clinton has left Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, where she was accompanying President Obama, to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem later. She will also travel to Cairo and Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Deputy National Security Director Ben Rhodes told CNN that the visit will push for a "de-escalation of the violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and restores broader calm in the region."

A U.S. official told CBS News that Clinton, however, would not meet with Hamas representatives who control the Gaza strip.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to Clinton before she left for Jerusalem and has also announced his support of Egypt brokering a ceasefire. 

U.S. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also in the region Tuesday for meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

He is also meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby amid a summit of Arab League member states in Gaza today.

@UNICEFenEspanol via Twitter

However, violence has only escalated as diplomats attempt to resolve the conflict. Israeli airstrikes have now claimed the lives of at least 110 people in Gaza, with over 900 people injured since the beginning of the offensive November 14.

Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) spokesperson Avital Leibovich is claiming 37 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza this morning. The IDF said a soldier was moderately wounded from the attacks in Beersheba. 

Palestinian Ma'an news agency is reporting that Hamas' al-Qassam brigades and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have claimed responsibility for targeting the Israeli city of Beersheba, "in response to the massacres in the Gaza strip."

The Jerusalem Post reports that an Israeli man stabbed a security guard at Tel Aviv's U.S. Embassy Tuesday morning.

A passerby from Tel Aviv, David Cohen, told Reuters, "A Mazda car stopped next to the U.S. embassy and a man got out carrying a red bag and a pitchfork.

"He began to run toward the security guards. They saw him, took their guns out and told him to get down on the ground. He continued running and then they fired in the air and ordered him again to lie down. He continued to advance. They jumped on him and took his bag away," said Cohen.

The security guard was slightly injured and the Jewish man, named Bat Yam, is now in police custody.

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