Obama urges ‘immediate, unconditional’ Gaza cease-fire U.S. President Barack Obama called for an 'immediate, unconditional' cease-fire during a phone call with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AA) – U.S. President Barack Obama stressed the importance of an “immediate, unconditional” halt to the hostilities between Hamas and Israel during a phone call with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday.

“The President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,” according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

Obama also emphasized that any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict required Gaza to be demilitarized and “the disarmament of terrorist groups.”

At least 1031 Palestinians have been killed and 6233 others injured in Israeli aerial, ground and naval attacks on the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 7, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday. At least 43 Israeli troops were also killed in Gaza combat, while three civilians were killed by Gaza rocket attacks on Israeli cities, according to official figures.

Israel’s military operation, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” is the third major offensive against the densely-populated Gaza Strip – which is home to 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years. It was launched July 7 with the stated aim of staunching Palestinian rocket fire, and later, to destroy Palestinian cross-border tunnels.

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