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Sec. of State Clinton to Emphasize Peaceful Resolution

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The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is headed to the Mideast today to emphasize the U.S. interest in a peaceful outcome in the weeklong conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Washington hopes for an agreement that will protect Israel's security and regional stability, improve conditions for Gaza civilians and lead to a way for Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security.

Clinton is expected to arrive in Israel tonight and make three stops, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Egyptian leaders in Cairo.

Meanwhile, Egypt's president predicts Israel's offensive may end within hours.

Gaza health officials say 115 Palestinians, including 54 civilians, have died and some 840 people have been wounded, including 225 children. Three Israeli civilians have been killed and dozens wounded. 

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Israel's prime minister says Israel would be a "willing partner" in a cease-fire with Gaza's ruling militant group Hamas.

Benjamin Netanyahu made the pronouncement Tuesday at a meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region as part of an international diplomatic push to end nearly a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu says that "if a long-term solution can be put in place by diplomatic means, Israel will be a willing partner."

Israel launched the offensive last week to end months of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Ban has condemned the rocket attacks but urged Israel to show "maximum restraint." He also has offered his services to help broker a truce.

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Israeli warplanes have dropped leaflets on several Gaza City neighborhoods urging people to evacuate their homes immediately.

 

Tuesday's warnings could signal a new round of heavy airstrikes on residential areas in the Palestinian territory.

The leaflets say "For your safety, you are required to evacuate your residences immediately and move toward central Gaza City" and list areas where people should go.

Palestinian militants have urged residents to ignore the warnings, calling them "psychological warfare."

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi says a cease-fire ending six days of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants is imminent as top diplomats converge on the region.

Israel has dropped such leaflets previously but never over such a wide area. 

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Witnesses say masked gunmen have publicly killed six suspected collaborators with Israel at a busy Gaza City intersection.

The Hamas military wing claimed responsibility.

Witnesses said the six men were pulled out of a van Tuesday, forced to lie face down on the street and then shot dead.

Five bodies lay in a pile as a mob stomped and spit on them. A sixth body was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as people screamed, "Spy! Spy!"

Hamas posted a sign on an electricity pole, naming the six alleged informers.

The public killings came during an Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 120 people, both militants and civilians.

Israel relies on a network of local informants to identify its targets.  (AP)

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