The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed late Thursday that one of its soldiers was killed earlier in the afternoon as IDF troops encountered fierce Palestinian resistance in northern Gaza.
An IDF spokeswoman told Xinhua that the soldier was shot in the head by gunfire in the Atatara area northwest of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.
Salah al-Din Brigades, armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, has claimed its responsibility for the attack, but the IDF spokeswoman could not provide information on which militant organization responsible for the incident.
Meanwhile, an IDF spokesman also confirmed the soldier's death to the website of Israeli daily Ha'aretz, saying the soldier was seriously wounded when shot by a Palestinian sniper as his unit took position in a house in the Beit Lahiya neighborhood of al- Attara.
He was evacuated by an Israeli army helicopter to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva in southern Israel and doctors in the hospital declared later that he died of his wounds.
The soldier's parents were notified of his death, but his name has not yet been released to the public, according to the report.
The Israeli army intensified Thursday its aerial, sea and ground operations against militants in northern and southern Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding 27 others, six are in critical conditions.
Large Israeli army infantry and armor units moved into the ruins of three former Jewish settlements in northern Gaza Strip on Thursday predawn.
The large Israeli army incursion was expanded shortly after homemade rockets fired from northern Gaza Strip and hit the southern coastal city of Ashkelon for the second time in two days.
The IDF spokesman said that there are efforts to hinder Qassam rocket launchers from targeting Ashkelon and to push them back toward Gaza City and the Jabalia refugee camp.