The IDF released minimal information about the Israeli casualty of the overnight Gaza clash, initially only publishing his title of Lieutenant Colonel and naming him M. on Monday morning.
M. was 41 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children, the IDF later cleared for publishing.
The information released will likely stay the only details about the high-ranking IDF officer, due to the secret nature of the operation and the elite division which carried out the operation in the Gaza Strip.
Lt. -Col. M. was killed and another Israeli soldier was injured moderately
in a firefight between an IDF mission and Hamas operatives in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday night. No information about the aim of the IDF mission has been released, but initial Israeli reports denied that the soldiers were in Gaza to assassinate or kidnap a senior Hamas member, a claim made by Hamas shortly after the incident.
Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said in an interview with Radio Army that operations of this sort have been and will continue to be carried out all the time and are important to Israel's safety.
According to an IDF spokesperson "a force acted as part of the IDF's efforts to preserve Israel's superiority over its enemies in a wide range of areas. The night force carried out a lengthy operation during which it encountered a very complex reality."
Speaking of the firefight that ensued after the secret mission was discovered by Hamas operatives the spokesperson said "the fighters acted heroically. From the moment they were discovered they conducted a heroic battle. The actions of Lieutenant Colonel M. will not be published, but Lt. -Col. M. deserves the respect of us all."
The death of Lt. -Col. M. marks the first time an Israeli officer was killed since the 2014 operation Protective Edge when Lieutenant Colonel Dolev Keidar was killed in combat.
The injured soldier that was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba is considered stable with moderate injuries, the IDF said.
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