John Kerry Returns to Middle East to Push for Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire

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"Along with all of Israel, and the entire Jewish people, we mourn their loss as if they were our own," the statement said.

PHOTO: An Israeli tank rides along the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
Tsafrir Abayov/AP Photo
PHOTO: An Israeli tank rides along the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.

The death toll from the two-week conflict continues to rise. In all, more than 500 Palestinians -- many of them civilians, including children -- were killed and more than 3,100 wounded in the past two weeks, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The overall death toll on the Israeli side rose to 20, including 18 soldiers, along with dozens of wounded troops.

The U.N. Security Council emerged from an emergency session late Sunday expressing “serious concern” about the rising civilian death toll -- and demanding an immediate end to the fighting, calling for a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.

PHOTO: Palestinians run for cover following an Israeli strike in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
Hatem Moussa/AP Photo
PHOTO: Palestinians run for cover following an Israeli strike in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.

The battle has broken a two-year lull in hostilities between Israel and Hamas and was triggered by the slaying of three Israeli teens and revenge burning death of a Palestinian teen. Angry protests escalated to rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes.

Egypt attempted to broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel last week, but Hamas rejected the plan. The sides later agreed to a five-hour “humanitarian pause” Thursday -- but following the brief cease-fire, Israel and Hamas exchanged additional rocket fire, and Israel launched its ground invasion hours later.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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