- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 20, 2014

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday by phone for the second time in three days about the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the White House said.

On the call, Mr. Obama “discussed Israel’s ongoing military operation, reiterated the United States’ condemnation of attacks by Hamas against Israel, and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself,” according to the White House.

Israel escalated its ground operation in Gaza on Sunday, leading to the deadliest day of fighting in the nearly 10-day conflict. Thirteen Israeli soldiers and at least 65 Palestinians were killed,  officials said.

On the call, the president raised “serious concern” about the growing number of casualties, including increased Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli soldiers, according to a readout of the call from the White House.

The White House also announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will soon travel to Cairo, Egypt, in the hopes of kick-starting stalled talks of a cease-fire in the conflict.


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