U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismisses criticism regarding his efforts to achieve a cease-fire in the ongoing Mideast conflict. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to achieve a breakthrough in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East on Tuesday showed little movement and the explosion of violence appeared to dash wider international hopes of turning a brief lull for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival into a longer-term ceasefire. Kerry, continued to show signs of optimism telling reporters that during his frequent calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader raised the "idea and a possibility of a ceasefire." Kerry fought back against criticism regarding his efforts to achieve a cease-fire saying,"I've taken hits before in politics. I'm not worried about that. This is not about me. This is about Israel, and Israel's right to defend itself and our strong support for Israel's right to defend itself." Meanwhile, Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant on Tuesday, flattened the home of its Islamist Hamas political leader and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets in the enclave on Tuesday, with no end in sight to more than three weeks of conflict. Health officials said at least 79 Palestinians were killed in some of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since the Israeli offensive began in response to Hamas rocket fire. The Israeli assault intensified following the deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers in cross-border attacks on Monday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of a long conflict ahead. Netanyahu said on Monday the military would not end its offensive until it destroys a network of Hamas tunnels, which Israel says serve as the group's bunkers, weapon caches and cross-border infiltration routes to attack Israelis.