2 soldiers killed in Gaza fighting

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli soldier, 20, was killed by sniper fire during an operation in the northern Gaza Strip.  

St.-Sgt. Amit Robinson was the second Israeli soldier to be killed Thursday, bringing to eight the number of soldiers who have been killed since Israel began its ground operation in Gaza.

An Israeli army officer, Maj. Roi Rosner, 27, of Holon, was killed in central Gaza just hours before Israel suspended fighting for another humanitarian pause. A soldier also was wounded by anti-tank fire in the same incident Thursday morning in the former Netzarim settlement, where their company was entering a building.

For the second straight day, Israel halted attacks for three hours in the early afternoon to enable Palestinian civilians in Gaza to leave their homes and for international relief organizations to carry out their humanitarian missions.

Some 300 Gazans with dual citizenship also were permitted to leave the strip via the Erez crossing and will cross into Jordan, while a pool of foreign journalists  reportedly was allowed to enter. In addition, 100 trucks of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza and 132,000 gallons of diesel fuel for the Gaza power station was to be transferred through the Nahal Oz fuel depot.

More than 15 rockets have been fired at southern Israel on Thursday. A long-range Grad missile landed in an Ashkelon elementary school, destroying its gym. Schools have been closed since the start of the operation.

Overnight, the Israeli Air Force attacked about 60 Hamas targets, including the houses of Yaser Natat, who was in charge of the rocket firing program in the Rafah area, and Muhammad Sanuar, the commander of the Hamas Khan Yunis Brigade. It also targeted a mosque used as a weapons storage facility, smuggling and terror tunnels — some located under homes — rocket launching areas and underground launching pads. 

Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation led by Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, arrived in Cairo Thursday to discuss an Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal.

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