February 28th, 2024

10 Israeli soldiers killed in one of the deadliest single attacks on its army since the war began

By Josef Federman And Najib Jobain, The Associated Press on January 22, 2024.

A Palestinian man mourns over the body of a child killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

JERUSALEM (AP) – The Israeli army said Tuesday that 10 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip in one of the deadliest attacks for Israeli soldiers of the 3-month-old war against the militant Hamas group.

Israeli media say the soldiers were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings in central Gaza on Monday when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby. The blast triggered the explosives, causing the buildings to collapse on the soldiers inside.

Israel’s Channel 13 says the toll is even higher and that more names will be announced.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead until Israel crushes the ruling Hamas militant group and wins the freedom of over 100 hostages held captive in Gaza. Israelis are increasingly divided on the question of whether it’s possible to do either.

Families of the hostages and many of their supporters have called for Israel to reach a cease-fire deal, saying that time is running out to bring the hostages home alive. On Monday, dozens of hostages’ relatives stormed a parliamentary committee meeting, demanding a deal to win their loved ones’ release.

Monday’s heavy death toll could add new momentum to calls for Israel to pause the offensive or even halt it altogether. Large numbers of Israeli casualties have put pressure on Israel’s government to halt past military operations.

Israel launched the offensive after Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross border attack that killed over 1,200 people and abducted some 250 others.

The offensive has caused widespread destruction, displaced an estimated 85% of Gaza’s population and left over 25,000 Palestinians dead, according to health officials in the Hamas-run territory. The United Nations and international aid agencies say the fighting has unleashed a humanitarian disaster, with a quarter of the area’s 2.3 million people facing starvation.

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Jobain reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip.

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