Death Toll Mounting in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials now say 435 Palestinians have been killed in the 13-day-old conflict with Israel, and about 3,000 wounded.
Close to half of the dead were killed since the start of Israel's ground offensive on Thursday. At least 65 people were killed and 288 wounded today alone, in fierce fighting in a Gaza City neighborhood that Israel says is used by Hamas to launch rockets at Israel.
Israel has now lost 20 of its citizens, including 13 soldiers killed today.
An Israeli military spokesman says soldiers met a "huge" level of resistance from Hamas militants in Gaza City, with anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic-weapons being fired from houses and buildings.
The military says residents were warned ahead of the offensive to leave the area, and Gaza's Health Ministry says 35,000 people did flee.
The United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians says 81,000 Palestinians are staying in U.N. shelters.
Kerry to go to Mideast
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Secretary of State John Kerry will go Egypt soon to press for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants.
President Barack Obama spoke by phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid escalating violence that has killed 435 Palestinians and 20 Israelis.
Hamas has rejected a cease-fire proposed by Egypt and is looking instead to governments in Qatar and Turkey for an alternative proposal. Those countries have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also linked to Hamas but banned in Egypt.
On the Sunday news shows, Kerry said any cease-fire agreement must be without conditions or "any rewards for terrorist behavior."
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is also heading to the Mideast to try to revive cease-fire efforts.
The U.N. relief agency in Gaza estimates that 70,000 Palestinians have fled their homes amid Israel's military offensive and more than 1,000 homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair.