BALTIMORE — Sean Carmeli, a sergeant in the Israeli army, was stationed in Israel’s South awaiting possible orders to enter Gaza.
He was exchanging Facebook messages with his friend Ian Benisti, a U.S. Marine reservist who was visiting Israel from California. The two had planned to get together, maybe go to the beach. But Israel was in the midst of an escalating conflict with Hamas.
“Bro’, hope this’ll be over soon, so we can meet up,” the Texas-born Carmeli wrote to Benisti in their last Facebook exchange on July 15.
The wish went unfulfilled. Two days later, Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza as part of its ongoing Operation Protective Edge.