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NYC mayor heads to Israel to 'show his support'

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January 3, 2009 09:01 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is heading to Israel with police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and New York Rep. Gary Ackerman.

Spokesman Andrew Brent says the mayor "is going in order to show his support for Israel."

The trip comes as Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza following eight days of punishing airstrikes that failed to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel.

Bloomberg is scheduled to spend Sunday meeting with the mayors of Sderot and Ashkelon and with New Yorkers who have moved to Israel. He's expected to be back in New York by Monday morning.

The mayor has already voiced his support for Israel in recent days, saying he believes Israel has a right to defend itself.