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Oil prices climb on new Gaza-Israel fears

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices climbed Friday after Israeli troops fired on crowds in Gaza surging toward the border fence, killing one Palestinian and wounding 19.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 71 cents to $88.09 a barrel at 1 p.m. EST on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was up 85 cents to $111.40 a barrel.

Friday's killing is the first violence since a truce between Israel and the militant Hamas group was reached two days ago. Prior to the shooting, oil prices had been falling, thanks mostly to optimism over the stability in the region that the cease-fire agreement provided.

Israel launched an offensive on Nov. 14 to halt rocket fire from Gaza, unleashing some 1,500 airstrikes on Hamas-linked targets, while Hamas and other Gaza militants showered Israel with just as many rockets. The truce reached Wednesday had eased fears of a war that could broaden beyond Gaza and eventually disrupt oil supplies.

In the U.S., motorists returning from the Thanksgiving holiday are getting the slightest bit of relief. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline fell one-tenth of a cent to $3.43. However, that is still 10 cents higher than last Thanksgiving.

Other futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

_ Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.72 a gallon.

_ Natural gas gained 1 cent to $4.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.

_ Heating oil was unchanged at $3.09 a gallon.

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