Escalating violence in the Gaza Strip has led to the deaths of hundreds of individuals in recent days, and the AP is reporting that two Americans have been killed in the conflict. Both American men were members of the Israel Defense Forces.
24-year-old Max Steinberg of California’s San Fernando Valley and 21-year-old Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli of South Padre Island, Texas were among the 13 Israeli soldiers killed during the fighting that took place on Sunday. Carmeli reportedly joined the Israeli military after completing high school there. Steinberg attended high school and college in the United States, but moved to Israel to join the IDF after traveling to the country on a Birthright trip.
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“He went back. He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel. He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing,” said Steinberg’s father Stuart regarding his son's decision to return to the country.
The fighting in Gaza, which increased this week when Israeli troops used ground forces to enter a Hamas-led territory in an attempt to dismantle a network of tunnels, has been one of the most violent outbreaks in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 500 Palestinians have been killed in the 13 days of fighting, including 83 children and a total of 270 civilians. The conflict is also being monitored on a global level, with the international community pushing for an increased focus on peace talks.