Fresh Mideast violence challenges US-Egypt ties

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is struggling to deal with the biggest flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence since last year's Arab Spring shook the foundations of American security strategy in the Middle East.

It is unable to call on its old ally Hosni Mubarak to convince Gaza's militant groups to stop firing rockets on the Jewish state.

Instead, it has to rely on Egypt's untested Islamist President Mohammed Morsi who — like the Gaza Strip's rulers, Hamas — is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The challenge illustrates America's weakened influence as popular Islamist political movements have replaced pro-U.S., secular strongmen throughout the region over the last two years.

The profound shift is having its greatest effect in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous and influential country, and previously America's strong regional ally.

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