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Israeli Soldier Killed During Special Operation In Gaza

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli soldier was killed and another injured during the Israel Defense Forces special forces operation deep inside the Gaza Strip.

The operation was exposed on Sunday night leading to clashes between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters in Gaza, and the firing of 17 rockets from Gaza on southern Israel. Three of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the IDF.

Seven Palestinians were killed in the clashes, including a senior Hamas commander.

The soldier was identified on Monday morning only as Col. M, a 41-year-old father of two. His name and photo were ordered to remain under a gag order by the military censor, after the military said that identifying him would jeopardize national security.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Paris, where he was attending the Paris Peace Forum and ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He had been scheduled to meet Monday with French President Emmanel Marcon. Netanyahu received a security briefing from senior IDF officials upon arrival back in Israel.

The IDF said in a statement that the special operation “was not intended to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security. The force waged a heroic and very complex battle and was able to exfiltrate in its entirety. We salute the bravery of Lt. Col. M. and his peers.”

It noted that the IDF soldier was killed and the second injured during the “initial incident” and not during the rescue operation.

School was cancelled for Monday in southern Israeli communities and the Ashkelon to Sderot train line was cancelled for Monday over fears of more rockets being fired from Gaza. The last rockets had been fired at about 1 a.m.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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