Gaza toll hits 260 on day 11 of Israeli campaign; Israeli soldier killed

A Palestinian child shouts at al-Shifa hospital after Israeli forces shelled her house in Gaza City on July 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Palestinian child shouts at al-Shifa hospital after Israeli forces shelled her house in Gaza City on July 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - The death toll in Gaza hit at least 258 early on Friday as Israel pressed a ground offensive on the 11th day of a massive operation to stamp out militant rocket fire.

The Israeli army said on Friday one of its soldiers was killed in northern Gaza, becoming the first military casualty since Israel launched a ground offensive in the Palestinian territory.

“There were a number of events during the night,” military spokesman General Moti Almoz told army radio. “The incident in which a soldier was killed, we are checking the circumstances now and when we know them all we shall release the findings.”

Eleven Palestinians were killed in Gaza, Palestinian health officials said. There was no immediate breakdown of how many were combatants.

More latest deaths were of four family members in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, with another two killed in the northern town Beit Hanoun, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, raising Friday's death toll to 17.

Earlier, three men were killed by tank fire east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza and another was killed in Shejaiyeh, east of Gaza city, Qudra said.

He added that five people were killed by Israeli fire in several separate incidents in the southern city of Rafah, including a five-month-old baby.

In northern Gaza, two men were killed in tank shelling in Beit Hanun, he said.

According to figures provided by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, more than 80 percent of the victims were civilians.

At least 1,920 Palestinians have also been wounded.

Since the Israeli operation began before dawn on July 8, at least 1,150 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 311 have been shot down by the Iron Dome air defence system, army figures show.

On the Israeli side, one civilian was killed by rocket fire earlier this week, and another four have been seriously injured.