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Israel-Hamas cease-fire remains elusive


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Obama speaks to Egyptian president on Gaza crisis

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan » The White House says President Barack Obama has again spoken to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as he seeks to end nearly a week of warfare between Israel and Hamas.

Obama spoke to Morsi for the third time in 24 hours as he was returning home Tuesday from a diplomatic tour of Asia. Deputy National Security adviser Benjamin Rhodes said Obama wanted to talk to Morsi before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s expected arrival in Israel to underscore the importance of working to halt the violence.

Rhodes said Obama commended Morsi’s efforts to ease tensions and stressed the important role Egypt can play in regional security.

Rhodes said Obama believes a diplomatic solution is urgently needed, but he emphasized that Hamas must stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

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