Clinton heads to Middle East amid Gaza violence

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 22:29 hrs

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to visit the Middle East Tuesday to hold talks with regional leaders in a bid to find ways to calm ongoing violence in Gaza, Xinhua reported.

Clinton, after leaving from the East Asia Summit in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh, would visit Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo to discuss the situation in Gaza, the US State Department said in a statement, adding she would first meet the Israeli officials.

The statement noted that her visits would build on US President Barack Obama's "intensive" engagement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi which is aimed at de−escalating the violence in Gaza and finding a durable way to end rocket attacks on Israeli territories.

Clinton will emphasise on the need for a peaceful outcome that both protects Israel's security and leads to improved conditions for the civilians of Gaza, said the US statement.

The Obama administration has said it supports Israel's right to self−defence, but it has also voiced concerns that another ground war launched by Israel into Gaza will cause bloody casualties for both sides.

Since last Wednesday, over a hundred Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes, while three Israelis were also killed in rocket firing from Gaza.

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