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US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, as Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations along the coastal area and diplomatic efforts intensified to end the two-week war. Disagreement over whether to lift the Gaza blockade is a key stumbling block to ending more than two weeks of fighting between the Islamic militant Hamas and Israel. Some in Gaza say they would rather endure more fighting than return to life under the blockade. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) (July 23, 2014 5:34 PM)

(AP) - Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

But neither side appeared to be backing down, after Palestinian rocket fire led several international airlines to cancel flights to Tel Aviv and Israeli troops clashed...

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