Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon spoke on Wednesday with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel, who called for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza that would lead to a permanent end in fighting along with the disarmament of Hamas.

Hagel's call came amid US concern over the rising number of deaths on both sides of the conflict, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The US secretary of defense stressed that any comprehensive resolution to the over three-week conflagration would need to result in the demilitarization of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

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