Two Israeli troops, one civilian, killed while Palestinian toll tops 300

Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — Two Israeli soldiers and a civilian were killed in the Gaza conflict, while the Palestinian death toll topped 300, mostly civilians.

Odeh al-Waj, 32, a member of a Bedouin settlement in the Negev that is unrecognized by the Israeli government, was killed when a rocket exploded outside his shack on Saturday, and four members of his family were wounded, including an infant daughter who was in serious condition.

Advertisement: The Grande at Chesterfield

Residents of the community told Israeli media that they did not receive the same protections, including sirens and shelters, as other communities because of their “unrecognized” status.

Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, and Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, died in a gunfight with Hamas infiltrators near Kissufim, along the center of Gaza’s border with Israel.

Two soldiers were wounded in the gunfight and the Israeli army said a Hamas gunman was killed while the others retreated. The army said the infiltrators planned an attack on a community.

The deaths bring to five the number of Israelis killed since Israel launched air strikes July 8 to counter an intensification of rocket fire, but were the first since Israel launched a ground operation late Thursday night.

Palestinian deaths topped 300, among them eight members of a single family, including four children, killed by artillery fire between Friday night and Saturday.

Israel says it is focused on clearing out infiltration tunnels and now has control of 13 of them.

Click here to sign up for breaking news alerts on the Gaza crisis and other Jewish news from around the globe.