UN calls for Gaza ceasefire as more than 500 Palestinians die

UN calls for Gaza ceasefire as more than 500 Palestinians die

The UN Security Council has called for an "immediate ceasefire" as Israel's assault on Gaza continues.

It comes as the death toll among Palestinians from the Israeli offensive in the coastal strip has reached 501, health officials said.

Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health ministry official, said rescue workers near the city of Khan Younis were digging out bodies from a home flattened in an Israeli air strike early today.

He said 20 bodies were found at the site and two people were pulled alive from the rubble overnight.

Following an emergency session late yesterday, the UN Security Council expressed “serious concern” about Gaza’s rising civilian death toll and demanded an immediate end to the fighting.

US President Barack Obama repeated the call in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early this morning - as Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the region to join talks.

A fresh air strike has killed a family of nine Palestinians, including seven children, after a weekend of shelling by land, sea and air.

Twenty Israelis also have died, including 13 soldiers killed in heavy fighting yesterday.

Claims an Israeli soldier had been kidnapped by Hamas militants in Gaza have been rejected.

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