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Gaza Strip

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken took off for the Middle East on Monday to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on and strengthen last week’s Gaza cease-fire, start an immediate flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and lay the groundwork for an eventual resumption in long-stalled peace talks.

President Joe Biden announced that he was dispatching Blinken to the region for what will be his administration’s highest-level, in-person talks on the crisis that erupted earlier this month. The White House said later that Biden had spoken to Egypt’s president, one of several leaders Blinken will meet on his trip, to underscore the importance of getting assistance to Gaza.


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Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire Thursday, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, brought life in much of Israel to a standstill and left more than 200 people dead.

At 2 a.m. local time, just as the cease-fire took effect, frenzy life returned to the streets of Gaza. People went out of their homes, some shouting “Allahu Akbar” or whistling from balconies. Many fired in the air, celebrating the truce.


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to press ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, pushing back against calls from the United States to wind down the operation that has left hundreds dead.

Netanyahu’s tough comments marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began last week and could complicate international efforts to reach a cease-fire. His pushback also plunges the pair into a difficult early test of the U.S.-Israel relationship.


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A rocket launched from Gaza killed two Thai workers in southern Israel on Tuesday, police said, hours after Israeli airstrikes toppled a six-story building in the Palestinian territory that housed bookstores and educational centers. With the war showing no sign of abating, Palestinians in the region staged a general strike in a rare collective action against Israel’s policies.

Violence erupted at protests in the occupied West Bank, including in the city of Ramallah. Hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and hurled stones at an Israeli military checkpoint. Troops fired tear gas canisters at the crowd, and protesters picked up some of them and threw them back.


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Palestinians grabbed their children and belongings and fled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City on Friday as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of artillery fire and airstrikes, killing a family of 6 in their home. Israel said it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion.

Israel has massed troops along the border and called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants have fired some 1,800 rockets, and the Israeli military has launched more than 600 airstrikes, toppling at least three high-rise apartment buildings, and has shelled some areas with tanks stationed near the frontier.