An Israeli soldier was killed in a gunbattle with Gaza militants on Sunday, the first fatality suffered by Israel since it launched a ground operation on Saturday night against the coastal territory’s Hamas rulers, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
The soldier, from the Israel Defense Forces Golani infantry brigade, was killed in the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The fallen soldier was identified as Staff Sergeant Dvir Emmanueloff, 22, from Givat Ze’ev, near Jerusalem.
Another IDF soldier was seriously wounded in the clash. He was later evacuated for treatment to the Soroka medical center in Be’er Sheva. Both soldier’s families have been informed of the incident.
Emmanueloff’s funeral will be held at 11 P.M. at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery.
Israel’s stated goal for the operation begun last Saturday was to destroy Hamas’ infrastructure and to halt cross-border rocket attacks from Gaza that have plagued southern Israel for the past eight years.
In addition to the fatality, 31 Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been wounded, three of them seriously, in clashes with Gaza gunmen since the ground incursion began.