New Zealand-Born IDF Soldier Killed in Gaza Attack Amid Ceasefire Promises

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By Reissa Su | July 28, 2014 4:26 PM EST

A New Zealand-born soldier was killed in a battle with a group of Hamas gunmen in the southern Gaza Strip. According to reports, Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland, had been planning to return to New Zealand before he and his sister reached the age for mandatory military service in Israel.

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
A Palestinian woman sits in a debris-strewn street as she looks at houses which witnesses said were damaged in an Israeli air strike that killed two children, in the northern Gaza Strip July 24, 2014.

Boyland, 21, joined the Israeli 7th Armoured Brigade as a combat engineer. He was born in New Zealand and lived with his family in Taupo until the age of 5. His Israeli mother and Kiwi father decided to bring him and his older sister to Israel.

Jim Boyland, the fallen soldier's grandfather, paid tribute to his grandson's bravery and patriotism. The young man had died in battle on July 25. His grandfather told reporters the younger Boyland was only four months short of ending his three-year mandatory service.

His grandfather spoke of his grandson being a "likeable" and gregarious boy. He said he was proud to see his grandson defend and fight for his country.

The young Boyland visited New Zealand in 2011 before he served the Israeli army. His grandfather knew of the boy's ambition of becoming part of the bomb squad.

Palestinian militants had fired a rocket at Israel which risked the unilateral ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.  The Gaza attacks have already killed 1,047 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers including Boyland, according to reports.

Hamas militants have agreed to support a 24-hour humanitarian truce and U.S. President Barack Obama's call for a ceasefire. However, reports said there was no indication of any "comprehensive deal" to end the fighting once and for all.

The firing of rockets continued after Hamas announced it was putting its guns down. Mr Obama talked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and stressed the importance of an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza.

The U.S. president added that the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be addressed by disarming terrorist groups like the Hamas and demilitarising Gaza.

The Gaza conflict has triggered tensions among Palestinians in the Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem / )
A Palestinian woman sits in a debris-strewn street as she looks at houses which witnesses said were damaged in an Israeli air strike that killed two children, in the northern Gaza Strip July 24, 2014.
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