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Virginians divided over battle in Gaza as violence escalates

RICHMOND, Va. — Palestinian supporters hoping to call attention to violence overseas gathered outside Richmond City Hall Sunday as Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to go to Egypt Monday to push for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip where several hundred people have died in a nearly three-week long conflict.

Richmonders on both sides of issue fear for the safety of their loved ones.

Kawthar Amin was one of a number of Palestinians who gathered on the steps of city hall to draw attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Those protestors said that each name attached to the balloons, illustrates the horror of war.

Amin’s family lives in Gaza where more than 80 Palestinians died Sunday.

“They’re worried for their life. They’re worried for what is going on,” Amin said.

What upsets these Richmonders is what they call the US-Israel bias — believing American support is killing loved ones.

“All lives are equal,” Amin said. “Why are we funding a country that is in turning around and killing civilians and especially children?”

But at Richmond’s Jewish Community Center, there is a much different take on the uptick in violence.

Fifteen-year-old Elena Rogers is worried for Israelis and her friends travelling in the region.

Rogers said the fear of rockets has her friends on edge.  Sunday 13 Israeli soldiers were killed. CNN reported that an Israeli soldier has been captured.

“I’ve heard a lot that the Israelis are going to have to go into the bomb shelters like underground and the warnings keep on going off,” Rogers said.

As for why both sides are fighting this time, experts blame the murder of three Israeli students and the subsequent Israeli capture of Palestinians.

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