Israel Suffers First Casualty Since Assault Began

Palestinian death toll has now hit 194

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2014 1:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Israeli man was hit with a mortar and killed near the Gaza border today, making him the first Israeli to die in a lopsided conflict that has seen nearly 200 Palestinians killed. The man was delivering food to soldiers when the mortar struck, a police spokesman tells the AP. Hamas has claimed responsibility for the rocket, according to al-Jazeera. Meanwhile, a 77-year-old man and a 24-year-old man were killed in Israeli strikes today, bringing the Palestinian death toll up to 194, the AFP reports.

Israel had briefly accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, but resumed firing after Hamas rejected it. Indeed, Benjamin Netanyahu intends to "expand the operation," he said in a speech, according to Haaretz. "When there is no ceasefire, [our] response is fire," he said. Israeli President Shimon Peres tells the AP that he does see a "moral problem" with the strikes, but said he saw no alternative. A UN aid agency today said that more than 500 Palestinian homes had been destroyed in the conflict, and well over 1,100 had been injured. "The level of human losses and destruction in Gaza is really immense," a spokesman said. "The numbers are increasing by hours."

A Palestinian man walks next to a destroyed house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City Monday, July 14, 2014.
A Palestinian man walks next to a destroyed house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City Monday, July 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City,  Monday, July 14, 2014.
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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