At Ramadan dinner, Obama praises Egypt's cease-fire plan for Israel, Hamas militants in Gaza

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Associated Press

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

At a White House dinner Monday evening celebrating Ramadan, Obama told Muslim-Americans he's hopeful that the plan can restore calm in the wake of a deadly wave of violence.

The upbeat assessment came hours after Egypt presented a plan to end a week of heavy fighting that has killed at least 185 people. Both Israel and the Palestinians say they are seriously considering the proposal, which marks the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict.

At the same time, Obama says the U.S. has been "very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself" against an onslaught of rockets being launched indiscriminately by Hamas militants into Israel. He also lamented the death and injury of Palestinian civilians during Israel's military offensive to quell the rockets.

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257-w-35-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with President Barack Obama)--President Obama is throwing his weight behind an Egyptian bid to end a week of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (14 Jul 2014)

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258-a-12-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"we've been seeking"-President Obama says he supports the cease-fire plan proposed by Egypt to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *258 (07/14/14)££ 00:12 "we've been seeking"

APPHOTO WHCD102: President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts an Iftar dinner, which celebrates the breaking of fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 14, 2014. Obama also made comments about Syria and the Israel and Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (14 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO WHCD102 (07/14/14)££

APPHOTO WHCD103: President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts an Iftar dinner, which celebrates the breaking of fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 14, 2014. Obama also made comments about Syria and the Israel and Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (14 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO WHCD103 (07/14/14)££

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