The carnage began with a violent cross-border attack by Hamas militants on Israeli civilians. Israel’s retaliatory response was swift, and by the middle of the week, the full destructive force of its military was bearing down on the Gaza Strip amid mounting threats of a ground invasion.
The toll, whether caused by bullets or air strikes, has brought unimaginable grief for Israelis and Palestinians alike. In wrenching scene after wrenching scene, relatives weep over their dead, whose lives were suddenly and violently cut short in an erupting war that has shattered thousands of families.
In the southern city of Sderot, an Israeli woman clings to a body lying in the road next to an overturned motorcycle. Now covered in a white sheet with a black boot poking out, the person was killed by Hamas militants the day they broke through the fortified border with Gaza. The woman cries in agony as she lays her head on the person’s chest.
Miles away in Gaza City, two Palestinian women comfort one another in a crowd gathered to mourn those killed by an Israeli airstrike. One, looking weary and exhausted, gazes upward in sorrow.
These images, taken by Associated Press photographers on the ground on both sides of the conflict, provide a window into the unbearable losses of this past week.