Middle East Unrest

Gaza Death Toll Nears 1,500 as 72-Hour Truce With Israel Begins

GAZA CITY, Gaza - The number of Palestinians killed during Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza hit 1,463 on Friday, health officials said. About 8,400 others have been wounded. The death toll now surpasses the about 1,400 Palestinians killed during during the Gaza war of 2008-2009. The grim milestone was reached as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced an "unconditional humanitarian cease-fire."

The pause in fighting began at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) on Friday, and was set to 72 hours unless extended. Sixty-one Israeli soldiers have died since the offensive was launched on July 8, and three Israeli civilians have been killed by militants' rockets.



- Ayman Mohyeldin and F. Brinley Bruton