"Over the next 24 hours we'll continue to stay in close contact with our friends and parties in the region and we will use all of our diplomatic resources and relationships to support efforts of closing a deal on a cease-fire," Obama said.

Noting that US continued to support diplomatic efforts to end the violence between Israel and Hamas, Obama said Israel had a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize its people.
    
"There is no country on earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets. And I'm proud that the Iron Dome system that Americans helped Israel develop and fund has saved many Israeli lives," he said.

"Over the past two weeks, we've all been heartbroken by the violence, especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza-men, women and children who were caught in the crossfire," he said.

He said his administration had been working with the partners in the region to pursue a cease-fire to protect civilians on both sides.

"Yesterday, Israel did agree to a cease-fire. Unfortunately, Hamas continued to fire rockets at civilians, thereby prolonging the conflict," he said.

The people of Israel and Palestine people don't want to live like this, they deserve to live in peace and security, free from fear, he said.

"That's why we are going to continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire, and we support Egypt's continued efforts to bring this about," he said.

The White House said the situation in Gaza was urgent and needed immediate attention.

"The situation in Gaza is very urgent. We are concerned about reports of loss of life on both sides of the border. That's why we have encouraged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to resolve this situation as soon as possible, at least in terms of putting in place the cease-fire that originally was put in place in November of 2012," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

He said fortunately the Egyptians had floated up a proposal that the Israelis readily accepted.

We have not seen, however, that lead to a decision by Hamas and other groups in the Palestinian-held areas to stop firing rockets aimed squarely at civilians on the Israeli side, he said.

"We are encouraging both sides to abide by this cease-fire so that we can reduce the risk that is currently being endured by innocent civilians on both sides of the border right now," he said.

(Agencies)

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