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United States pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants today near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to broker a truce in a war that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.

But neither side appeared close to backing down, after Palestinian rocket fire led several international airlines to cancel flights to Tel Aviv and Israeli troops clashed with Hamas fighters near the Gaza town of Khan Younis, forcing dozens of families to flee.

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