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Politics this week | The Economist

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Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, were on the brink of war. The crisis began with clashes around the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site. Israeli police fired stun-grenades and rubber bullets at rock-throwing Palestinians. Hamas and its allies then fired more than 1,600 rockets at Israel, which responded with hundreds of air strikes on Gaza. Scores of people, mostly Palestinians, were killed. Israel said it had killed Hamas officials. Adding to the turmoil, street fighting broke out in several Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.

Iran confirmed that it was talking to Saudi Arabia, its arch-rival, in an effort to resolve the many issues that divide them. The secret discussions were mediated by Iraq and started in Baghdad early last month. Meanwhile, an American Coast Guard ship fired warning…

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