Speed Reads

foreign affairs

Gaza death toll passes 1,000 as 12-hour cease-fire begins

In the midst of more than three weeks of near-constant conflict, Gaza residents are taking advantage of today's 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire to gather supplies, inspect damaged homes, and recover bodies from the rubble, NPR reports.

The cease-fire began at 8:00 a.m. today, although The Associated Press notes that Israeli forces are continuing to search for Hamas-built tunnels, which the army considers "a strategic threat." Meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry reported that the death toll has passed 1,000 — and that most of those killed were civilians. Thirty-seven Israeli troops, and three Israeli civilians, have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far as well.

The lull in fighting comes less than a day after Israeli cabinet members "unanimously rejected" U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's week-long cease-fire proposal (Hamas leaders had not responded to the proposal at all). And neither side appears to consider the 12-hour cease-fire a beginning to calmer negotiations.

"At the end of the operation, Hamas will have to think very hard if it is worth it to taunt us in the future," Moshe Yaalon, Israel's defense minister, told the AP on Friday.