Egypt Independent

Clinton to visit Middle East for Gaza talks

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave Asia on Tuesday to visit Israel, Egypt and Ramallah, a US official said, as the United States pushes to avoid an escalation of the Gaza crisis.

Clinton will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and then discuss the crisis with Egyptian and Palestinian leaders, after leaving President Barack Obama's trip to Southeast Asia, the official said.

Obama made the decision to send Clinton after speaking to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and Netanyahu late on Monday night, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

"Secretary Clinton will emphasize the US interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel's security and regional security," Rhodes said, though he stopped short of calling Clinton's trip a mediating mission.

News of Clinton's trip came as Israeli leaders Tuesday discussed an Egyptian plan for a truce with Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group after the death toll from Israeli raids on the enclave rose to more than 100.