4:11 pm - Tuesday January 25, 0557

Gaza toll reaches 316 as UN chief heads to region

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GAZA CITY – Palestinian Territories: Israeli air strikes killed 20 people in Gaza on Saturday, taking the death toll to more than 300, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon headed to the region to bolster truce efforts. 

The new peace push came as Israel stood poised to intensify a ground operation inside the besieged Palestinian territory aimed at stemming rocket fire by militants on day 12 of its bloodiest conflict since 2009. 

The United States urged its Israeli ally to do more to limit the high civilian death toll from the operation while supporting the Jewish state’s right to defend itself. 

President Barack Obama said Washington was “deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.” 

He added that Washington was “hopeful” that Israel would operate “in a way that minimises civilian casualties”.

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