BEIRUT

Middle East

Shell fire kills Israeli soldier near Gaza Strip: army

Israeli soldiers wait next to their an armored personnel carrier as they hold a position along the border between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on July 26, 2014. (AFP/Gil Cohen-Magen)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel's army said Sunday that one of its soldiers was killed near the Gaza Strip, taking to 43 the number of troops killed since the start of ground operations on July 8.

"The soldier was killed by a shell that was fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory," an army spokeswoman said.

The announcement came after Israel extended a lull in its devastating Gaza offensive for another 24 hours until midnight Sunday.

Hamas, however, resumed rocket fire, and warned no cease-fire would be valid without the withdrawal of Israeli tanks.

About 20 rockets were fired at southern Israel between late Saturday and Sunday morning.

Late Saturday, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on southern Israel and Tel Aviv immediately after the expiration of an initial 12-hour cease-fire both sides had abided by.

Israel's unilateral decision to continue the cease-fire signaled a pause in its assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in less than three weeks.

Over the same period, 43 Israeli soldiers have died. Three civilians in Israel were also killed.

 

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