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Israel imposed the blockade in 2006 after Hamas and other militants abducted an Israeli soldier in a deadly cross-border raid. It tightened the siege in 2007 after Hamas seized power from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but had eased some of the restrictions in recent years.

Egypt tightened its own restrictions last year after the overthrow of a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo and has destroyed many of the cross-border smuggling tunnels that sustained Gaza’s economy, and which were also used by Hamas to bring in arms.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent the day in Cairo feverishly calling on regional leaders to help push Israel and Hamas agree to a cease-fire as a necessary first step toward resolving some their long-standing mutual grievances.

As in years past — most recently in 2012 — the U.S. wants the violence to stop before it tries to negotiate specific demands each side has put forward. For Hamas, that includes the release of Palestinian prisoners in addition to the end of the economic blockade against Gaza.

Kerry did not make any public appearances on Thursday as he called foreign ministers in Turkey and Qatar — who have influence with Hamas — and Netanyahu to try to press a solution. Like Israel, the U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization and will not directly engage with its leaders.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday’s attack on the U.N. school “underscores the need to end the violence and to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and enduring resolution to the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible.”

“We call on all parties to protect these facilities from the conflict and we have condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza,” Psaki added.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, meanwhile, urged Hamas to agree on an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and said Israel and Palestinian Authority could then come together to hold talks.

Hamas must agree to a humanitarian cease-fire without preconditions for the sake of the people in Gaza,” he said during a news conference after meetings with Egyptian officials in Cairo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, made no reference to the cease-fire efforts in underscoring his determination to neutralize the rocket and tunnel threats.

More than 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza since July 8, and the Israeli military says it has uncovered more than 30 tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel, some of which have been used by Hamas to carry out attacks.

“We started this operation to return peace and quiet to Israel… And we shall return it,” Netanyahu said after meeting with Hammond earlier Thursday in Israel.

In other violence, six members of the same family and an 18-month-old infant boy were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit the Jebaliya refugee camp early Thursday, according to Gaza police and health officials. Another airstrike on a home in the southern Gaza town of Abassan killed five members of another family, al-Kidra said.

Heavy fighting was reported along the border of central Gaza, according to Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji. Israeli troops fired tank shells that reached parts of the Bureij and Maghazi refugee camps, although no injuries were immediately reported. Clashes also erupted between Palestinian fighters and Israeli troops in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, Batniji said.

Israeli naval vessels meanwhile fired more than 100 shells along the coast of Gaza City and northern Gaza, the spokesman said, adding that rescue teams were unable to operate in the area because of the heavy fire.

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