Two more Israeli soldiers killed as ground war expands

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two more Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza, bringing the number of soldier fatalities to five.

Lt. Bar Rahav, 21, a combat engineer, and Sgt. Bnaya Rubel, 20, an infantry combatant, were killed Saturday night. Rahav’s vehicle was hit by an anti-tank missile and Rubel died in a battle.

The ground phase of Operation Protective Edge was expanded that night, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, a day after the IDF said it uncovered and demolished 34 tunnel shafts and about a dozen tunnels intended to be used to carry out terror attacks inside Israel.

Fifty-one injured Israeli soldiers are in hospitals, seven in serious condition, Israel Radio reported Sunday morning.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge nearly two weeks ago, the IDF said it has struck 2,570 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets, and 500 since the start of the ground offensive started late last week. More than 1,770 rockets have been launched from Gaza at Israel, with 360 rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the IDF said.

Also Saturday, five trucks of humanitarian aid were transferred into the Gaza Strip, according to Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories. The trucks were carrying about 20 tons of medical supplies, including antibiotics, intravenous fluids, first-aid kits and blankets.

On Sunday, the IDF announced that it would open a field hospital for injured Gazans on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing.

 

 

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