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Kerry renews offer to broker ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas

US Secretary of State John Kerry has offered to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas on the 2012 understanding, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.

The newspaper quoted a US official as saying that "Kerry condemned the continued firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip and said that Israel has the right to defend itself, but he also asked [Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin] Netanyahu to restrain from further escalation."

The official added that Kerry told Netanyahu that the United States is concerned about the "rapid escalation" and briefed him about his conversations with the region's leaders "to reach a ceasefire, restore calm and prevent harm to innocent people".

Kerry today met with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain in Vienna on the sidelines of the talks with Iran and discussed the possibility to push for a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the resistance factions in Gaza.

Israeli Army Radio said the Israeli Security Cabinet will meet this evening to discuss the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip after hours of intense bombardment by Israeli warplanes against areas that have been evacuated in the northern Gaza Strip and in light of growing international interest and calls for a ceasefire.

Army Radio said the heavy missile attack launched by the Palestinian resistance factions in the afternoon indicate that "Hamas does not intend to calm the situation; despite the growing international interest in reaching an understanding between the warring parties".

The station said the foreign ministers of Germany and Italy could arrive in Tel Aviv this week to push for a ceasefire agreement, pointing out that Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz demanded Hamas disarm before an agreement is signing.

Meanwhile, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that reaching a ceasefire and stopping an escalation in violence are a top priority for France, and called for a return to the agreement signed in 2012.

The British foreign secretary made ​​a similar call.

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