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Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged Saturday to provide $10 million (about ¥900 million) in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians out of concern for the rising number of civilian casualties resulting from Israel’s airstrikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Japanese officials said.

During a teleconference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Aso called on the Palestinian leader to work toward bringing about an early ceasefire between Israel and Hamas while promising that Japan will continue to work toward achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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