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18,000 Israelis attend funeral of American-Israeli Soldier fighting in Gaza

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As the death toll rises on both sides of the Gaza Strip, authorities from the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. State Department confirmed late yesterday that Max Steinberg, 24, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, both United States citizens and Israeli Soldiers were killed in the fight.

Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, the youngest of three children in his family and the only son, had been living in Ra'anana, Israel, the last four years. He joined the Israeli Army after finishing high school.

ABC News via The Associated Press wrote:

Carmeli was a fan of the Maccabi Haifa soccer team and a team member- after learning Carmeli had no family living in Israel-sent a Facebook message to fans urging them to attend the funeral.

More than 18,000 people from across Israel showed up Monday for Carmeli's funeral in Haifa, police said.

Carmeli originally of South Padre Island, Texas, and Steinberg, from the San Fernando Valley area in Calif., were among several Israeli Soldiers killed in the first major ground offensive in two weeks of fighting in Gaza. Sixty Palestinians were also killed in the battle.

A sharpshooter for the IDF, Max Steinberg (no rank listed) lived in Beersheba, Israel. In 2012, he had visited Israel for the first time on a Birthright Israel trip he made with his brother and sister. Upon returning, Steinberg told his family he wanted to “defend the civilized world against the threat of Islamic terrorism” and that he wanted to return to Israel and join the Israel Defense Forces; six month later he did.

The Times of Israel reported that the deadly battle that took the lives of these two American-Israeli Soldiers began when a mine exploded under an Israeli armored personnel carrier.

Also killed in the fight late Sunday night were Maj. Tsafrir Baror, 32, of Holon; Capt. Tsvi Kaplan, 28, of Kedumim; Sgt. Gilad Rozenthal Yacoby, 21, of Kiryat Ono, and Sgt. Oz Mandelovich, 21, of Avtalion. All of the troop losses were from the Golani Brigade.

The Israeli Army has demolished two tunnels in the northern area. Another 14 tunnels have been identified and were readied for demolition at the time of this publication. Hamas uses the tunnels to bring arms and supplies to their militant fighters, typically into residential neighborhoods in Gaza City.

Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News reported tonight that there are some 2,000 American-Israeli Soldiers engaged in the current conflict in Gaza.

Related article here.

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