TEL AVIV, July 20 (RIA Novosti) – The Israeli army lost early Sunday two more soldiers during a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, with the total death toll on the Israeli side climbing to seven, the press service of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported.
Among the latest victims are a 21-year-old second lieutenant who was fatally wounded as his armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank missile and a 20-year-old sergeant killed in a shootout with rebels.
Earlier in the day, Israel announced Sunday it was expanding its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip which was launched late July 17, following days of shelling and aerial bombardment.
The beginning of the ground offensive also triggered a spike in victims on the Palestinian side.
According to a statement published by the Palestinian health ministry, the number of people killed during Israel’s operation that entered its 13th day has surpassed 350 people.
On July 8, Israel started its Operation Protective Edge targeting the Hamas movement, which controls the region, and its allied groups of Palestinian rebels. About ten days later, the Israeli army switched to a ground offensive aimed at destroying underground tunnels dug by rebels to secretly enter the Israeli territory.