AP PHOTOS: Brief cease-fire halts Gaza war

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A brief cease-fire Saturday in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas militants allowed thousands to return home to see the destruction.

Palestinians walked through the concrete rubble that once used to be homes, collecting what keepsakes they could recover. Some openly wept when they saw what little remained. Two men poured water for birds left behind in one demolished home.

Some Palestinian men climbed over an Israeli armored vehicle, apparently left behind during a military operation. Others held funerals for their dead.

At least 985 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded over the past 19 days, according to Palestinian officials. Israeli strikes have destroyed hundreds of homes, including close to 500 in targeted hits, and forced tens of thousands of people to flee, according to Palestinian rights groups.

Israel has lost 37 soldiers and two civilians, and a Thai worker also has been killed in fighting and in Hamas rocket attacks. On the edge of Gaza, Israeli soldiers regrouped as Israel’s defense minister warned he might soon expand the ground operation in Gaza “significantly.”

Here is a collection of Associated Press images showing life in Gaza amid Saturday’s cease-fire.

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