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US denies trying to pressure Israel with flight ban

A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows smoke billowing from the coastal Palestinian enclave during shelling by the Israeli army on July 22, 2014The United States Tuesday denied that a ban on US airliners flying to Tel Aviv and a stark US travel warning were a ploy to push Israel to agree a Gaza truce. “I would wholly disagree with that argument,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, when asked if the two directives were a political move to put pressure on Israelis. “We issued travel warnings because one of our top priorities is protecting US citizens overseas,” she told reporters. Despite deep links between Americans and Israel, the State Department on Monday warned all US citizens against traveling to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza because of “ongoing hostilities.”

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