First Israeli soldier killed in Gaza ground offensive

First Israeli soldier killed in Gaza ground offensive
Fri Jul 18, 2014 09:23:03

The Israeli army has suffered its first casualty as it commenced its ground offensive into Gaza. Two more soldiers were lightly wounded on Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night directed the military to send ground troops into Gaza.

The military invasion came as the death toll in Gaza hit 248 on Friday.

The latest death included a man in Shejaiyeh, east of Gaza city, raising Friday's death toll to seven, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Earlier, four people were killed by Israeli fire in several separate incidents in the southern city of Rafah, including a five-month-old baby, Qudra said.

In northern Gaza, two men were killed in tank shelling in Beit Hanun, he said.

According to figures provided by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, more than 80 percent of the victims were civilians.

At least 1,920 Palestinians have also been wounded.

Since the Israeli operation began before dawn on July 8, at least 1,150 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 311 have been shot down by the Iron Dome air defense system, army figures show.

On the other side, one Israeli was killed by rocket fire earlier this week, and another four have been seriously injured.

BA/BA

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