GAZA CITY — Diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas intensified Monday as the death toll from two weeks of fighting continued to rise on both sides of the conflict.
More than 500 Palestinians — including almost 100 children — have been killed as Israel's offensive in Gaza grinds on. One Israeli airstrike Monday reportedly killed 28 members of a single family, while other attacks killed nearly a dozen people in a high-rise apartment building and at least four people in a hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza health officials said.
The tank attack also wounded 60, half of them medical staffers. The Israeli military said it was looking into the report.
Palestinian officials put the death toll at 565 since fighting began July 8, with about 3,350 wounded.
Seven Israeli soldiers died in the fighting Monday, Israel Defense Forces said. Another 13 Israeli soldiers died Sunday in clashes with Hamas. The overall Israeli death toll rose to 27, including two civilians who died from rocket and mortar fire directed at Israeli towns and villages from Gaza.
United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Cairo on Monday to try to broker a cease-fire. The top Hamas leader in Gaza indicated the group would not accept an unconditional cease-fire.
Upon arrival, Kerry announced that the United States would provide $47 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
President Obama said Kerry was pressing "immediate cessation of hostilities" structured after a 2012 cease-fire.
"We have a serious concern about the number of Palestinian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives," Obama said, adding that time is of the essence to "stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and Israel."
"There are enormous passions involved," Obama acknowledged. "Difficult, strategic issues are involved."
Ban is still pushing for a truce. In New York, the U.N. Security Council expressed "serious concern" about Gaza's rising civilian death toll and demanded an immediate end to the fighting after an emergency session. The U.N.'s Human Rights council is likely to hold an emergency meeting later Monday.
Sunday, before heading off to the Mideast, Kerry said the United States still supports the Egyptian proposal for a halt to the hostilities that Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week.
Gazan shop owner Abu Hamed, 51, said Sunday's fighting was the worst violence he has ever witnessed in his area's already-bloody history.
"People beg me to open my shop to buy from me, but the vast majority have no money, and it's risky to walk in the streets," Hamed said. "We pray to God to protect us from the bloody Israeli attack that spares no one."
On Sunday evening, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri in Gaza claimed his group had captured an Israeli soldier. An announcement on Gaza TV of the soldier's capture set off celebration in the streets of the West Bank.
Israel denied it. "There's no kidnapped Israeli soldier," Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Ron Prosor, said Sunday night.
Two Americans are among the Israeli soldiers reported killed in Gaza during weekend fighting.
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Contributing: John Bacon and Michael Winter, USA TODAY; Associated Press