BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military said on Sunday that five Israeli soldiers and officers had been killed and 60 injured in fighting in Gaza since the beginning of the ground invasion.
The statement comes after heavy fighting on Saturday between Hamas militants and Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza killed at least two soldiers, as the army expanded its ground operation while shelling from land and sea as well as airstrikes continued.
Reports of the number of dead and injured was expected to rise due to the military censor, which delays the release of news army casualties by the Israeli media.
The injured included a commander of the elite Golani Brigade, Colonel Ghassan Alian, the bridgade's first Druze commander.
The high numbers of deaths and injured came after Israeli forces encountered encountered intense Palestinian resistance upon entering the Gaza Strip, while two of the deaths came from an infiltration raid and attack on a patrol by Hamas inside southern Israel itself.
64,000 Israeli reserve soldiers have been called up for duty since the beginning of the Israeli assault on Gaza 13 days ago.