Washington: US President Barack Obama has called the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi amidst escalating violence in Gaza.
Morsi recalled his Ambassador to Israel protesting against the Israeli strikes in Gaza.
Obama urged Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties, the White House said in a statement yesterday after the call during which the Obama reiterated US support for Israel's right to self-defence in light of the barrage of rocket attacks launched from Gaza against its civilians.
"The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate," the White House said.
Earlier, the US Vice President Joe Biden received a briefing from Netanyahu on the events in Gaza.
Obama also spoke with Morsi given Egypt's central role in preserving regional security.
"In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel's right to self-defence," White House said.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead, it said.
Earlier, the US strongly condemned the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and regretted the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence.
"There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organisations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately.
"We support Israel's right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties," the State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said.
"Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause.
"Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self-determination," Toner said in a statement.
The Israeli Defence Forces yesterday launched a widespread campaign targeting military infrastructure and operatives in the Gaza Strip and killed the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari.


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