BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli soldier dies from wounds sustained in Gaza

In this Aug. 2, 2014 file photo, Palestinians look for their belongings after houses were destroyed in Israeli strikes in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (AP/Hatem Ali, File)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The Israeli military says a soldier wounded in fighting in the Gaza Strip died Sunday, bringing the Israeli military toll in the recently concluded conflict to 66.

The military says 20-year-old Sergeant Shachar Shalev was wounded on July 23, six days after Israeli ground forces entered the densely populated coastal strip.

Six civilians were also killed on the Israeli side, including one agricultural worker from Thailand.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, mainly civilians, were killed during the 50-day war.

The war stemmed from the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens by Hamas operatives in the West Bank in June, which prompted Israel to arrest hundreds of members of the Islamic movement in the most sweeping crackdown in the West Bank in years. Hamas responded with increased rocket fire from Gaza, which prompted more than a week of Israeli air raids followed by the ground operation.

Israel and Hamas agreed last Tuesday to an open-ended truce. The cease-fire brought an immediate end to the fighting but left key disputes unresolved.

While Israel agreed to loosen its long-standing blockade to allow humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials into Gaza, many of the border restrictions will remain in place. Hamas, meanwhile, rejected Israel's demands that it disarm. The two sides are set to hold indirect talks on both issues in Egypt next month.

 

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