JERUSALEM (JTA) — Seven more Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza, bringing the death toll of troops to 25 since the beginning of the Israeli military’s ground invasion.
The Israel Defense Forces announced the deaths of the seven soldiers in a 24-hour span on Monday evening.
Four were killed Monday morning when infiltrators from Gaza entered southern Israel through a tunnel that ended between two kibbutzim near the Gaza border. The infiltrators reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers, who arrived on the scene in a military jeep.
The other three soldiers reportedly were killed in ongoing military operations in Gaza City’s Shujaiya neighborhood, one reportedly by friendly fire.
The number of Israeli soldiers killed in the current Operation Protective Edge is more than the total number of soldiers who died in Gaza operations in 2008-09 and 2012 combined. Two civilians also have been killed since the launch of the operation two weeks ago.
The Palestinian death toll rose to more than 500, most reportedly civilians, since the start of Protective Edge, according to the Washington Post.
On Monday, Israeli tank shells reportedly hit al-Aksa hospital in central Gaza, killing four and injuring dozens, including numerous medical staff. The shells were targeting what the IDF identified as a stockpile of anti-tank missiles stored next to the hospital, according to the IDF spokesman’s office.