US points to progress in cease-fire talks, but Hamas leader remains firm

The US announced steps toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday, but the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.

By , Associated Press

The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.