The Israeli army has reported a devastating toll of 24 soldiers killed in Gaza on Monday, marking it as the deadliest day since the commencement of the ground operation.
Among them, 21 reservists lost their lives in an explosion, suspected to be triggered by mines strategically placed by Israeli forces for building demolition. This tragic incident unfolded in central Gaza near the Kissufim kibbutz situated on the Israeli border.
The reservists were actively involved in an operation aiming to ensure the safe return of residents in southern Israel, who had been evacuated following the Hamas attack on October 7.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event. Simultaneously, in a separate attack in southern Gaza, three officers were previously confirmed dead.
According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, the overall Palestinian death toll has reached 195 in the past day. The IDF’s chief spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, conveyed that the reservists met their fate in central Gaza around 16:00 (14:00 GMT) on Monday, close to the Kissufim kibbutz on the Israeli side of the border.
The first funerals for those who lost their lives in the explosion have taken place at Mount Herzl in a rainy Jerusalem. Many mourners were clad in military uniforms, and the scene was filled with blue and white Israeli flags.
Even amid the tragic losses, Israel’s military had already confirmed three officers killed in a separate attack in southern Gaza on Monday. Undeterred by the suffering, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the nation’s determination to persist with the offensive until achieving “absolute victory.”
The gravity of these events underscores the complex and ongoing challenges in the Israel-Gaza conflict, prompting the need for a thorough examination of the evolving situation.
In Khan Younis in the south, where displaced people are concentrated, three hospitals have witnessed intense fighting. The IDF declared the complete encirclement of the city, a central focus of its ground offensive targeting Hamas.
Israel suspects that the group’s leaders may be hiding there, possibly holding Israeli hostages. The IDF’s operation resulted in the death of dozens of local gunmen, the discovery of rockets ready to fire, tunnel shafts, and a significant cache of weapons.
Reports from Palestinians indicate casualties among women and children in the city, with Israeli blockades and hospital stormings leaving the wounded and dead inaccessible to rescuers. Due to safety concerns, the deceased are being buried within the Nasser hospital grounds.
Allegedly, Israeli forces also entered Al-Khair hospital in the al-Mawasi area, arresting staff members. Israel initiated the conflict with the stated goal of dismantling Hamas, following the group’s attacks that claimed 1,300 lives and took around 250 hostages. According to the IDF website, 217 soldiers have been killed since the ground invasion’s start on October 27, with a total of 552 casualties since October 7.
The Hamas-run health ministry reports at least 25,490 casualties, predominantly women and children, in the Israeli military campaign in Gaza since October 7.