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Putin, Rohani Discuss Gaza Conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed with Iranian President Hassan Rohani on the need for a swift end to the military conflict in Gaza.

The Kremlin said in a statement that the two leaders had also agreed by phone July 18 on the need for Israelis and Palestinian to resume direct talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said July 18 he had ordered the military to prepare for a possible significant expansion of its ground operation against Gaza militants.

Netanyahu told his cabinet air strikes alone cannot destroy the network of tunnels used by Hamas militants to stage cross-border attacks on southern Israel.

The Israeli army began a limited a ground offensive into Gaza on July 17 as 10 days of airstrikes failed to halt Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Reuters