By Megan R. Wilson - 07/19/14 04:47 PM EDT
Two Israeli soldiers were killed Saturday after a group of Hamas fighters slipped through one of the vast tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip and Israel and shot them.
The killings of the two soldiers came as the death toll in Gaza climbed to 330, including 60 children, according to a report in the Washington Post that cited the Gaza Health Ministry.
Israel has launched a ground offensive in Gaza to close tunnels it says Palestinians are using to stage attacks against it. The complex network of tunnels run as deep as 90 feet underground.
The Obama administration has repeatedly defended Israel’s right to protect itself, even as it has urged Israel to protect civilians.
More than 1,600 rockets have been fired into Israel in the current conflict, according to the New York Times. Only one casulty has resulted, the report says.
The number of displaced persons in Gaza has doubled in one day – to 50,000 people, said an aide agency within the United Nations in a statement on Saturday.
The United Nations helps provide relief and supplies for Palestinians – who are largely dependent on the services because of a blockade from Israel and Egypt that limits the amount of food, medicine and construction materials are allowed into the territory in an effort to cripple Hamas fighters.