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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said officials working on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas have “made some steps forward” toward ending a conflict that has left hundreds of people dead. He spoke yesterday after arriving in Israel for talks on how to end more than two weeks of pitched violence.  Kerry is meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

[eap_ad_1] Ban held talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres and said there is “no time to lose” in finding a cease-fire, with the death toll “rising by the hour.” “As secretary-general of United Nations, I cannot and I will not be silent in the face of this tragedy,” Ban said. “I mourn the loss of so many innocent lives in Gaza, and I grieve with the families. The violence must stop now, as I said, dialogue must begin. That’s what I am now doing — to promote such a dialogue among the parties concerned.’’