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Officials: Death Toll in Gaza Conflict Tops 500

Officials in Gaza say that 512 Palestinians have died in the two-week Israeli offensive in the region. Twenty Israelis—including 13 soldiers that were killed on Sunday—are also dead in the latest surge of violence. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are both headed to Cairo as diplomats and leaders around the world continue to push for a cease-fire agreement. In a statement, a state department spokeswoman said Sunday night that the U.S. is “deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life.”

Earlier on Sunday, Kerry was caught in a “hot-mic” incident as he was recorded commenting on civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, saying, “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.” He later clarified on the record in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, adding, “It’s tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that, you know, anybody does with respect to young children and civilians. But, war is tough, and I said that publicly and I’ll say it again. We defend Israel’s right to do what it is doing in order to get at those tunnels. Israel has accepted a unilateral cease-fire. It’s accepted the Egyptian plan which we also support” …

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