World Bulletin/News Desk
At least five Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday in clashes with Palestinian groups near the border with the Gaza Strip, increasing to 53 the number of Israeli troops killed since an ongoing Israeli offensive against the Palestinian enclave started earlier this month.
In a statement, the Israeli army said the five troops were killed in clashes near the border area of Nahal Oz when Palestinian militants used a tunnel to enter Israeli land.
The army identified the slain soldiers as Sergeant Daniel Kedmi, 18; Sergeant Barkey Ishai Shor, 21; Sergeant Sagi Erez, 19; Sergeant Dor Dery, 18, and Nadav Raimond, 19.
Meanwhile, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza-based Palestinian faction Hamas, has claimed to have killed at least 110 Israeli troops.
“Our fighters continue repelling the enemy on the outskirts of Gaza Strip, and had killed over 110 Israeli officers and soldiers and injured hundreds others since the launch of the [Israeli] ground operation,” the brigades said in a statement early Tuesday.
The group said that its fighters managed to kill 19 Israeli soldiers on Monday alone in three separate attacks.
“Ten were killed in a behind-enemy-lines operation in eastern Gaza City, six killed in mortar attack on Israeli troops in eastern Khan Younis, and two in clashes in northern Gaza Strip,” the group said.
Israel struck 150 Gaza targets
Israeli army also said that its forces struck 150 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight.
Army spokesman Moti Almoz told Israeli Channel Two that army forces were operating in the border area to destroy tunnels.
He argued that the main goal of the ongoing Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip was to stop rocket fire and destroy tunnels.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with devastating bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire from the strip.
At least 1119 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6550 others injured in the relentless Israeli attacks on Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rocket at Israeli cities in response to the ongoing Israeli bombardments.
According to official Israeli figures, 53 troops and three civilians have been killed since the hostilities began.
Israel's military operation, dubbed operation "Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.
In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians were killed in Israel's three-week-long operation "Cast Lead."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Temmuz 2014, 10:08