Middle East Unrest

Palestinians Survey Devastation as Gaza Death Toll Tops 1,000

TEL AVIV, Israel - The bodies of more than 80 Palestinians were pulled from the rubble in the hours after a brief truce was declared in Gaza on Saturday, pushing the death toll there past 1,000. Thousands of Gazans who streamed back to their homes in hard-hit border areas during the lull in fighting found a scene of devastation: homes pulverized, power lines dangling in the streets and wreckage blocking roads. The Israeli military had requested that civilians not return to homes they had evacuated during the ceasefire.

The 12-hour truce between Israel and militant group Hamas that into effect at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) was preceded by an intense bout of Israeli bombing, according to reports. The truce came after mediation by Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. Their intervention failed to produce a week-long ceasefire as a precursor to a broader deal, as they had hoped. Indeed, Israel said it would continue trying to destroy "Hamas' terrorist infrastructure in Gaza."




- Lawahez Jabari, Yael Factor and F. Brinley Bruton

The Associated Press contributed to this report.