Israeli soldier from Los Angeles is killed in Gaza

A Los Angeles man was one of the Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza this weekend as fighting intensified.

Max Steinberg was a Woodland Hills native and voluntarily joined the Israel Defense Forces, according to the Jewish Journal. According to voter records, he was 24 years old.


Steinberg graduated from El Camino Real high school in 2008, studied at Pierce College, joined the Israeli army in 2012 and was a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade, his Facebook page says.

It was unclear exactly how Steinberg died, but the Israeli military announced Sunday that 13 members of the Golani Brigade were killed by militants this weekend in the northern Gaza Strip. Seven of them died when an explosive device hit an armored vehicle, one in a firefight, two in a separate attack and three in a burning building, the Israel Defense Forces said.

At least 100 militants have been killed since Thursday, when Israel began the ground phase of a military offensive that is now in its 13th day, Israeli reports said.

The invasion has been aimed at combating Gaza's network of underground tunnels channeling rockets and militants. Israel regards the tunnels as an acute strategic threat, designed for carrying out cross-border attacks and kidnapping civilians or soldiers. Fourteen such tunnels, dug from Gaza and believed to extend into Israeli territory, have been found so far.

Since Israel's military cautioned civilians to move out of targeted areas, more than 60,000 Gazans have taken shelter in United Nations facilities in recent days, but many others have remained in their homes as the death toll has climbed toward 370.

A total of 18 Israeli soldiers have been reported killed in the campaign. More than 1,700 rockets have been fired at Israel, killing two civilians, since the fighting began July 8.

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Times staff writer Alexandra Zavis in Gaza and special correspondent Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.