Protesters Stage “Die-In,” Rally Amid Gaza Conflict

Hundreds gathered around the scattered bodies of protesters

Protesters staged a "die-in" and thousands rallied in Chicago Sunday to demand an end to the rising conflict in Gaza.

"Since the offensive began, almost 400 Palestinian people have been killed and many more wounded," said Hatem Abudayyeh with the U.S. Palestine Community Network.

Hundreds gathered around the scattered bodies of protesters, who laid on the ground intending to represent the bodies of those killed in the fighting.

After the die-in, protesters, who came to Chicago in busloads, marched to the Israeli consulate.

Members of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine said the rally was held to show solidarity with Palestinians and demand an end to the bloodshed.

"Almost 400 homes have been destroyed, thousands displaced," said Abudayyeh. "This is not a war against Palestine, it is a war on Palestine."

Deputy Israeli Consul General Alex Goldman-Shayman said Israel had to start its defensive operation to protect its citizens from Hamas rockets.

"Thirteen days ago we had something to do to stop the firing on our citizens," he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for dialogue to resolve conflicts like the one in the Middle East.

Thirteen Israeli troops were killed overnight Sunday in Gaza, according to the Israeli Army. An armored troop carrier was hit by a shoulder-launched anti-tank missile in the neighborhood of Shejaia, leaving seven Israeli soldiers dead, and another six were killed in fighting that followed, an Israeli security source told NBC News.

Fifty-two Israelis were injured in the missile launch and fighting, and eleven of the injuries were serious. Israeli shelling on Sunday left more than 100 dead, including women and children.

"I really hope there can be peace," said Abudayyeh.

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