Middle East News

Gaza Death Toll Reaches 1000

More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its ground attacks almost three weeks ago, Palestinian health officials said on Saturday. In addition, another 5,780 Palestinians have been wounded. A total of 42 Israelis have also lost their lives, BBC reported.

The death toll continued to rise in the first few hours of the 12-hour “humanitarian truce” implemented by both Israel and Hamas. More than 85 bodies and possibly as many as 100 have been recovered from beneath mountains of rubble, further highlighting the horrendous toll the war has inflicted on the Palestinians, The Telegraph reported.

As the short ceasefire commenced early Saturday, residents were frantically trying to gather essential supplies, recover bodies and give their dead a decent burial.

Meanwhile, international leaders increased their efforts to ease the conflict. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Paris with top diplomats from other countries that have a stake in the region, including Turkey, Qatar, Germany and the European Union.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “It’s now about reaching a common position that we must put an end to the deaths.”

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the goal should be for “the ceasefire to rollover for 12 hours or 24 hours or 48 hours, and then again and again, until we’ve established the level of confidence that allows the parties to sit round a table to talk around the substantive issues.”

After the two hour meeting, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters, “We all call on parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire currently in force, by 24 hours that could be renewed.” He then added, “We all want to obtain a lasting ceasefire as quickly as possible that addresses both Israeli requirements in terms of security and Palestinian requirements in terms of socio-economic development.”

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