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Obama sends Clinton to Middle East

US president Barack Obama is sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Middle East in the hope that she can help mediate an end to the bloody conflict in the region.

A deputy White House national security adviser said Mrs Clinton will leave today from Cambodia, where she has accompanied Mr Obama on a visit to south-east Asia.

Mrs Clinton will begin her diplomacy by meeting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. She also will meet Palestinian officials in Ramallah before heading to Cairo to meet leaders in Egypt.

Israel has been firing rockets into the Gaza Strip in an attempt to end months of rocket fire out of the Hamas-ruled territory.

The US says Israel has a right to defend itself.

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