At least seven more Palestinians were martyred in Israeli aggression as death toll reached 583 in 15 days as a series of Israeli air strikes early Tuesday killed seven people in Gaza, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
The deaths hike the total Palestinian toll to 583 since the Israeli military launched air strikes and ground operation.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry were in Cairo on Tuesday in a bid to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas after two weeks of fighting.
Many of those killed in the relentless Israeli campaign of shelling and air strikes in the Gaza Strip, which entered its 15th day, were women and children. On the Israeli side 27 soldiers and two civilians died.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting it had turned down last week.
Kerry plans to hold his meetings Tuesday with the Egyptian leadership including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
However US officials acknowledge that the truce efforts could prove trickier than in the past as Egypt — long the key regional broker — had little leverage with Hamas after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.
The top US diplomat defended ally Israel’s right to strike against Hamas militants, but voiced concern over the massive civilian violence.
“We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself,” he told reporters as he met with the UN chief, urging Hamas to accept the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire.
Ban said Hamas “should immediately stop firing rockets,” adding that while he understood Israel’s military response, “there is a proportionality and … most of the death toll (has been) Palestinian people.”
Fresh Israeli strikes continued Tuesday and Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra reported the Palestinian death toll since Israel launched its operation on July 8 was now 576.
Israel says its campaign aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza, and the ground phase of the operation to destroy tunnels burrowed into Israel by Hamas, the main power in the coastal strip.
Since the offensive began huge numbers of Gazans have fled their homes, with the UN saying more than 100,000 people have sought shelter in 69 schools run by its Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).
As many as 28 Israeli army personnel including two US soldiers have so far been killed since the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians started as it was confirmed by the Israel.
Meanwhile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held talks in Doha, pledging to work together for a ceasefire and to lift the blockade on Gaza.