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Israel-Gaza strikes rage despite diplomatic efforts

The violence between Israel and the militant group Hamas showed no sign of slowing on Tuesday, despite U.S. and other global efforts to stop the region’s fiercest hostilities in years.

Gaza health officials said the Palestinian death toll has risen above 200 people, after more than a week of Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire.

Within Israel, ten people have also lost their lives.

The United States on Monday said it had encouraged a ceasefire in phone calls with Israel.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “Our calculation at this point is that having those conversations behind the scenes, weighing in with our important strategic partnership we have with Israel… our approach is through quiet, intensive diplomacy and that's where we feel we can be most effective.”

But President Joe Biden is facing growing pressure from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party to play a more vocal role.

He's spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three times since the violence began.

Biden has strongly defended Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas, which the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.

But the administration did not support Israel’s missile strike on a media building in Gaza, which housed bureaus for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

Despite the pressure for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister said strikes in Gaza would carry on.

"The directive is to continue to strike at terror targets. We will continue to act as necessary to restore peace and security to all residents of Israel."

The armed wing of Hamas promised more rockets in return.

Egypt and United Nations mediators have also stepped up diplomatic efforts, while the UN General Assembly will meet later this week to discuss the violence.

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