Shocking Photos Of Destruction In Gaza As Thousands Return Home During Truce

07/26/2014 08:03 pm ET | Updated Jul 26, 2014

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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Palestinians gather around the rubble of a building where at least 20 members of the Al Najar extended family were killed by an Israeli strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

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Palestinian Mukaram Keferna cries upon her return to what was the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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A member of the Keferna family cries upon his return to the family house, left, that was destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinians carry belongings as they walk on the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinian rescue officers remove a body from the rubble of a building where at least 20 members of the Al Najar extended family were killed, including at least 10 children, by an Israeli strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

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A member of the foreign media, left, cries as she embraces her Palestinian news assistant, right, who burst into tears after discovering his family house was destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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A Palestinian man runs when he hears an Israeli tank movement from its position behind the hill, close to the border with Israel, as he return to inspect damage to his house during a 12-hour cease-fire in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinians walk past a donkey, still alive, as it lays wounded on a debris-filled road in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinian Manal Keferna, 30, right, cries with her sister-in-law Najwa Keferna upon their return to the family house destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinian Mazen Keferna cries upon his return during a 12-hour cease-fire to the family house destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinian men climb on Israel's military vehicle that was left behind by the forces in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

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Upon their return, Palestinians pour water to save the family birds after finding them alive at the family house destroyed by Israeli strikes, while visiting the area during a 12-hour cease-fire in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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A Palestinian medic shows the cover of a Red Crescent ambulance destroyed by an Israeli strike, as he and residents visit the area during a 12-hour cease-fire in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Palestinians hug each other after seeing their homes destroyed, during a 12-hour cease-fire in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

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Palestinians inspect the damage of their destroyed houses during a 12-hour cease-fire in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

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