Sen. Kerry visits Gaza to inspect damage from Operation Cast Lead

US Senator John Kerry was in the Gaza Strip Thursday, as part of a rare visit by American politicians to the area. The former Democratic presidential nominee said he was in Gaza to see the aftermath of Israel's military offensive there last month. He was not scheduled to meet with anyone from Hamas, which the US considers a terrorist group. Kerry said his visit did not signal any change in American Mideast policy. He told residents that Hamas must take moves toward peace and halt its rocket attacks on southern Israel. Joined by an armed UN convoy, Kerry inspected the ruins of a school destroyed in the IDF offensive and toured a neighborhood in northern Gaza that was heavily damaged in the fighting. Earlier Thursday, two Democratic congressmen traveled separately to Gaza.