- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2014

Two Americans fighting for the Israel Defense Force were killed in the Gaza Strip while battling Hamas terrorists.

Max Steinberg, 24, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, were among the 13 Israeli soldiers and 65 Palestinians killed during a Sunday ground troop battle, according to The Associated Press.

Mr. Steinberg’s family hails from Southern California. He served as a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade, AP reported. Mr. Carmeli was a sergeant who hailed from South Padre Island, Texas.

“[Carmeli] had great energy, yet had a kind and gentle soul,” said Rabbi Asher Hecht of the Rio Grande Valley, and a longtime Carmeli family friend, AP reported. “It’s been a very tough day for us. We lost a gem.”

The State Department issued a statement Sunday evening about the men’s deaths: “We can confirm the deaths of U.S. citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli in Gaza. Out of respect for those affected by this, we have nothing further at this time.”