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Oil falls to near $102 a barrel amid push for Israel-Gaza cease-fire, EU sanctions on Russia

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The price of oil retreated to near $102 per barrel on Wednesday amid a new push for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and after Europe imposed additional sanctions on Russia that fell short of a heavy hit.

U.S. benchmark oil for September delivery was down 34 cents to $102.07 a barrel at 0850 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 47 cents to $102.39 on Tuesday.

Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, was up 9 cents to $107.43 on the ICE exchange in London.

The price of oil has been kept high after a civilian jetliner was last week shot out of the sky over part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists and as Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip added to risks of instability in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv, seeking to renew a push for a cease-fire after an earlier proposal by Egypt was rejected.

More than 630 Palestinians and about 30 Israelis have been killed in the violence. A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

The European Union slapped new sanctions on Russian individuals after a meeting on Tuesday. But the bloc didn't impose penalties that would disrupt energy supplies from Russia, waiting for a clearer picture of last week's downing of a Malaysian jetliner, which killed 298 people.

In other Nymex trading:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.9 cent to $2.844 a gallon.

— Heating oil gained 0.5 cent to $2.868 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 0.5 cent to $3.777 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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