Gaza, Jul 26 (EFE).- Emergency workers recovered at least 85 bodies of men, women and children Saturday in the Gaza Strip while clearing rubble during the first six hours of a 12-hour ceasefire agreed by Israel and the Hamas administration in the coastal enclave.
The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll has nearly reached 1,000 and could far surpass that figure in the coming hours as workers comb the rubble of hundreds of destroyed buildings.
"In 19 days of bombing and attacks, the death toll has risen to 985 and the number of wounded exceeds 6,000" to date, the ministry said in a statement.
The Israeli army's intense, constant bombardments from land, sea and air of all of Gaza, whose southern and northern regions have been especially hard hit, had not allowed ambulances and members of the medical teams to approach some areas until Saturday.
Most of the Palestinian casualties are civilians.
Israel's army says 35 of its soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the ground offensive in Gaza nine days ago, while three Israeli civilians have died amid Palestinian rocket fire.
The 12-hour suspension of hostilities, agreed last night by Israel and Hamas, began at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.
The emergency services are using this window to recover bodies and attend to the wounded, while the local population tries to stock up on essential supplies and diplomatic efforts to expand the ceasefire and create a space for dialogue proceed.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that in his meeting Saturday in Paris with his counterparts from the United States, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Britain and other nations they called for an extension of Saturday's ceasefire.
He said they were looking to achieve an additional truce of 24 hours that could be later renewed.
"All of us want to obtain, as quickly as possible, a durable, negotiated ceasefire that responds both to Israeli needs in terms of security and to Palestinian needs in terms of the social-economic development (of Gaza) and access to the territory of Gaza," Fabius added.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended the meeting in Paris as part of efforts to hammer out the details of a proposed seven-day truce coinciding with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.
Israel has rejected the proposed seven-day truce, reportedly because it would hinder its efforts to destroy tunnels Hamas militants have dug under the Israeli-Gaza border.