At the United Nations, U.N. ambassadors after hours of closed-door meetings announced the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Gaza crisis Wednesday afternoon if a cease-fire is not called before then. The move comes after the United States blocked adoption of a unanimous press statement from the council because it did not explicitly criticize Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel.
The U.S. considers Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide and other attacks, to be a terror group and does not meet with its officials. The Obama administration blames Hamas for the latest eruption of violence and says Israel has the right to defend itself. At the same time, it has warned against a ground invasion, saying it could send casualties spiraling.
Barzak reported from Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Associated Press writers Hamza Hendawi in Cairo, Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
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