Gaza death toll tops 2K as cease-fire nears end

The Gaza death toll has topped 2,000 since fighting began between Israel and Hamas and with a current ceasefire set to expire at midnight Monday.

Gaza's health ministry reported Monday that 2,016 have been killed and 10,196 wounded since the conflict began on July 8, according to Agence France-Presse.

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Sixty-seven Israelis have been killed, the majority soldiers, according to The Associated Press.

The high death toll and large number of Palestinian civilian casualties, which include 541 children and 240 women, has placed the Obama administration in a difficult spot.

President Obama has backed Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks, even as he and his top officials urge greater caution to prevent civilian casualties.

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said earlier this month that the U.S. could not “condone” an Israeli missile strike that killed civilians near a United Nations school in Gaza.

Israeli and Palestinian officials have not backed down on their demands in Egyptian-mediated talks as the deadline looms for the current cease-fire, the war's ninth, according to The Wall Street Journal

Qais Abdul Karim, a Palestinian negotiator, said on Sunday that Israel is pushing for guarantees that Hamas will disarm, with Palestinians calling for an end to the blockade on Gaza with no preconditions.

But deputy Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhleh expressed confidence that the current cease-fire would be extended, telling The Associated Press: "The war is behind us now. We are not returning to war.”

Hamas rocket fire propelled Israel to move into Gaza last month, where it uncovered dozens of tunnels. Israel has remained focused on stopping weapons from crossing into Gaza.