An Israeli soldier was killed in action during the country’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The specific circumstances were unclear, but the IDF said that the soldier’s family had been notified.

Israel’s chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz told Israeli Army Radio “we are checking the circumstances” behind the soldier’s death.

Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas’ weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory’s border with Israel. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

It was the first military casualty since Israel announced the start of a ground operation into Gaza late Thursday.

The news comes as Israel moves forward with “a new phase of Operation Protective Edge.” The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 20 had been killed during the night ground operation.

Overnight, the IDF said they “neutralized” 14 terrorists, destroyed 20 rocket launchers, carried out nine strikes on tunnels and hit a total of 103 terror targets.

Meanwhile, the IDF said some 50 rockets were fired from Gaza, about half which ultimately struck Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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