IDF announces death of soldier Malkia Gross in fighting in southern Gaza

Army says it’s probing circumstances, as ground op toll reaches 315; Gross, from settlement of Susya, is remembered as ‘people-loving’ teacher who was beloved by his students

Sgt. First Class (res.) Malkia Gross (Israel Defense Forces)
Sgt. First Class (res.) Malkia Gross (Israel Defense Forces)

The military announced Saturday evening that an Israeli soldier was killed earlier in the day during fighting in the southern Gaza Strip.

The fatality was named as Sgt. First Class (res.) Malkia Gross, 25, of the 205th “Iron Fist” Reserve Armored Brigade’s 9212th Battalion, from the Susya settlement in the southern West Bank.

The circumstances of his death were being probed, the army said.

Eliram Azoulai, the head of the Har Hebron Regional Council, said Gross had finished his studies aimed at becoming a math teacher, adding that he had taught during his training and was “beloved by his students.”

He said the council was mourning the loss and embracing his family and the Susya community, remembering Gross as “a people-loving person” who “always walked around with a book in hand.”

His death brought the toll of fallen troops in the ground offensive against Hamas and in operations on the Gaza border to 315. The toll includes a police officer killed in a hostage rescue mission. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

Troops of the IDF’s Givati Brigade operate in the Yabna camp of southern Gaza’s Rafah, June 18, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

On Friday, the army announced that two reservists were killed in a Hamas mortar attack in the central Gaza Strip.

War erupted when Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern communities on October 7, murdering some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 251 hostages to Gaza.

There are thought to be 120 hostages still held in Gaza, 116 of whom were kidnapped on October 7, in addition to two civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held there for nearly a decade.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims more than 37,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far. The toll, which cannot be verified and does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, is thought to include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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