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Jul 20, 2014 4:19 PM by Associated Press

Kerry to go to Mideast

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says Secretary of State John Kerry will go to Egypt soon to press for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid escalating violence that has killed at least 425 Palestinians and 20 Israelis.

Hamas has rejected a cease-fire proposed by Egypt and is looking instead to governments in Qatar (GUH'-tur) and Turkey for an alternative proposal. Those countries have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also linked to Hamas but banned in Egypt.

On the Sunday news shows, Kerry said any cease-fire agreement must be without conditions or "any rewards for terrorist behavior."

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is also heading to the Mideast to try to revive cease-fire efforts.

The U.N. relief agency in Gaza estimates that 70,000 Palestinians have fled their homes amid Israel's military offensive and more than 1,000 homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

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