Israeli killed while visiting soldiers near Gaza

A civilian bringing food to Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border was the first Israeli killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.

The 37-year-old man was pronounced dead upon arrival July 15 at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. He was visiting soldiers at the Erez border crossing when he was hit by mortar fire.

Nearly 200 Palestinians in Gaza were killed during the first eight days of the operation, according to news reports.

Nearly 100 rockets were fired at Israel on July 15. That same day, Israel’s air force attacked 30 targets across Gaza, including 20 underground launchers, tunnels, an ammunition depot and the house of an Islamic Jihad official, Haaretz reported, citing the Israel Defense Forces.

Also on July 15, 25 mobile bomb shelters donated by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews were placed in southern Israeli communities hard hit by rockets from Gaza, including Ashdod, Ashkelon and Lachish.

The group raised more than $2 million in the early days of Operation Protective Edge. Part of the funding was used to open an emergency support center for the elderly in areas affected by the rockets, providing assistance including delivering food and medicines, and helping to stay in contact with them. — jta