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Pressure Rises on Israel to Pause Fighting, Ease its Siege

Meanwhile, battles intensify near Gaza City

Israeli troops fought with Hamas militants on the edges of Gaza City on Thursday, as the Palestinian death toll rose above 9,000. After nearly four weeks of war sparked by Harmas' deadly rampage in Israel, U.S. and Arab leaders raised pressure on Israel to ease its siege of Gaza and at least briefly halt its attacks in order to aid civilians.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken was heading to the region for talks Friday in Israel and Jordan, after President Joe Biden suggested a humanitarian "pause" in the Gaza fighting to let in aid for Palestinians and let out more foreign nationals.

Roughly 800 people — including hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports and dozens of wounded — have been allowed to leave Gaza over the past two days, under an apparent agreement among the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.

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