U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria as ISIS militants continue to gain ground in the war-ravaged nation, a U.S. official told CNN.
The flights - seen as a forerunner of possible U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Syria - could begin at any point, the official said Monday.
"In general, when you're thinking about conducting operations like that, you certainly want to get as much of a view on the ground as you can," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said earlier Monday in a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"Satellites can provide you good visibility, but you always want closer eyes on target if you can," Kirby said, before Obama's decision was made public.
Concerns have been intensifying over the threat posed by ISIS after the extremist group posted a video last week showing the beheading of captive American journalist James Foley.
The United States has already been gathering intelligence on the locations of ISIS leadership and troops in Syria, two U.S. officials told CNN on Friday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Egypt on Monday to push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after the death toll from the Gaza conflict rose above 500.
Speaking to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, the deadliest day of the war so far, Kerry said that the United States supports Egypt's initiative for a truce and "will work for a fair cease-fire."
The United States has "shown our willingness to try to deal with the underlying issues," but Hamas "must step up and show a level of reasonableness," he said.
"No country, no human being, is comfortable with children being killed, with people being killed, but we're not comfortable with Israeli soldiers being killed either or with people being rocketed in Israel," Kerry said.
In a meeting late Sunday, U.N. Security Council members expressed "serious concern about the growing number of casualties," according to the body's president, Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda.
The members urged "an immediate cessation of hostilities" based on the cease-fire that stopped the 2012 conflict between Israel and Hamas, he said.
But as clashes continued Monday, there was no sign that either side would heed the world body's calls.
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An Egypt-backed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas fell apart Tuesday as rocket attacks from Gaza were answered by Israeli airstrikes once again.
The rocket attacks from Hamas militants in Gaza never ceased, Israeli officials said. For its part, Israel refrained from airstrikes for about six hours before announcing it was resuming the attacks.
A CNN crew witnessed at least five Israeli airstrikes just as the announcement was made.
The Israel Defense Forces said 47 rockets were fired into Israel during the cease-fire period, which Hamas never accepted.
The faltering of the cease-fire attempt means there may be little hope of seeing an end to the near constant exchange of fire that has so far killed more than 190 Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli leaders had agreed to the cease-fire, but from the outset warned it would be short-lived if the attacks from Gaza didn't stop.
The Israeli Security Cabinet met early Tuesday morning and decided to halt aerial strikes beginning at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. ET). It resumed strikes about six hours later, by 3 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).
The Egyptian plan calls for all sides to cease hostilities in Gaza. It also calls for the opening of border crossings, once the security situation is stable, and for high-level talks among those involved.
When the plan was announced, there was a split reaction from Hamas. Its military wing rejected any possibility of a cease-fire, while its political wing had said it was considering it.
The stakes are high and climbing.
By Tuesday, the death toll from a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had reached 194 with at least 1,400 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities.
The death toll is now greater than the number of people killed in Gaza during the 2012 conflict between Israel and Hamas.
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That's the explanation a crew member from the sunken ferry Sewol gave Tuesday for being unable to reach life rafts as the ship rolled over and began to sink.
Crew members made attempts to get to the lifeboats, the crew member said. "But we slipped so we could not do that."
The man was among four crew members who briefly answered reporters' questions outside a courtroom Tuesday following their arrest the day before on charges related to the disaster. The men appeared with their heads bowed and faces covered, making it unclear which of them was speaking.
They are among nine crew members facing charges, including the captain and two more who were arrested Tuesday.
So far, 121 people are confirmed dead and 181 remain missing nearly a week after the ferry sank, according to the South Korean Coast Guard.
The failure to deploy the lifeboats is one of a series of problems that beset those on board the sinking vessel last Wednesday.
A transcript of a radio conversation released by authorities over the weekend suggested that passengers on the ship couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move.
But the ship's captain and some crew members have come under heavy criticism, notably for the captain's decision to tell passengers to stay where they were.
In addition to the captain, two first helmsmen, one second helmsman, a third mate, the chief engineer, a technician and the two crew members arrested Tuesday face charges.
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