A man was killed Tuesday near the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip after he suffered a direct hit from a mortar launched by terrorists in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.
Dror Khenin, 37, was treated by a medical team that arrived at the scene, but was pronounced dead at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon a short while later. He was a volunteer who came to distribute food to the soldiers in the area. Another man was lightly wounded in the attack.
While the Iron Dome defense system has become a crucial factor in Operation Protective Edge, as it was able to shoot down dozens of rockets from Gaza that would have otherwise fallen on inhabited areas, the advanced mechanism cannot intercept mortars fired at targets in proximity to the border.
Khenin was the first Israeli citizen to be killed by terrorists since Operation Protective Edge was launched last week, although another woman in her seventies collapsed and died on Friday of heart failure while running to a shelter in Wadi Nisnas, a neighborhood in Haifa, and an American tourist in Jerusalem died of a heart attack at the weekend when sirens wailed.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Tuesday that at least 15 Israelis, including several children, have been injured by the Palestinian rocket fire since the fighting began.
On Tuesday morning, Israel announced that it would accept an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and unilaterally halt all airstrikes on Gaza. Only a short while later, however, Hamas indicated its rejection of the deal, as it continued to rain rockets on Israeli cities throughout the country.
Gaza terrorists fired about 125 rockets since the morning, when the truce was to have begun, the IDF said. In the evening, a quick barrage of 40 rockets fell over the course of a few minutes, one of which landed inside an empty school.
More than 1,100 rockets have been fired toward Israel in the fighting.
Israel resumed air strikes on Gaza in mid-afternoon after a six hour pause.
The outbreak of cross-border fighting, which began July 8, has been the deadliest round since a major Israeli military offensive in the winter of 2008-2009. The previous outbreak of cross-border violence, in 2012, eventually ended with the help of Egypt, at the time seen as a trusted broker by Hamas.
Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and close to 1,500 Palestinians injured in strikes on Gaza since Israel launched the campaign over a week ago to stop rocket fire at its citizens, according to AFP.