JERUSALEM, July 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to boost efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, a U.S. Embassy official in Tel Aviv told Xinhua.
The Secretary of State, who came from Cairo where he had met with Egyptian officials, is scheduled to travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah throughout the day. He plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and also with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who is also in the region amid diplomatic efforts to end the fighting.
Kerry's arrival on the 16th day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge comes a day after the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) banned commercial flights into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, after a rocket slammed into Israeli territory in the central town of Yahud, not far from the airport.
Prime Minister Netanyahu talked with Kerry Tuesday night over the phone and asked him to restore air travel to Tel Aviv.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged Israeli officials to act with maximum restraint amid Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian civilian death toll skyrocketed.
Since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, more than 600 Palestinians, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled, have been killed and over 3,000 have been injured by Israeli airstrikes, according to Gaza health officials.
Twenty-nine Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of the ground incursion into the Gaza Strip and several dozens were injured in varying degrees. Two Israeli civilians died last week from rocket attacks in southern Israel, as Hamas launched more than 2,000 rockets throughout the country.
GAZA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Four more Palestinians were killed early Wednesday in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, raising the death toll from Israeli military attacks to 635, medical sources said.
Health Ministry officials said two young men were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip town of Bei Lahiya, and a 17-year-old boy was killed by Israeli artillery fire in Khanyounis City, south of Gaza. A young Palestinian man died of wounds he sustained in an Israeli airstrike in Khanyonis. Full story
RAMALLAH, July 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry early Wednesday discussed with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the possibility of reaching a ceasefire to end the bloody fighting in the Gaza Strip.
Kerry phoned Abbas to discuss reaching a truce in Gaza based on the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported. Full story