The IDF says 24 Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war

TEL AVIV – The Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday that 21 reservists were killed when Hamas militants hurled rocket-propelled grenades at an Israeli military mission preparing to demolish a building, Israel's deadliest in its Gaza offensive.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a televsion Report The RPG round hit a tank and apparently planted Israeli munitions on a two-story building. Three more soldiers were also killed in heavy fighting on Monday.

The IDF is working to establish The destruction of buildings there is part of efforts to protect a 600-meter-wide buffer zone along the border and Israeli communities across the border, Hagari added. The current conflict began after Hamas attacked communities in southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages. On October 7.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday that the IDF has opened an investigation into the incident.

“We must learn the necessary lessons and do everything to protect the lives of our soldiers,” he said. “In the name of our heroes and for our own lives, we will not stop fighting until we achieve complete victory.”

The latest casualties bring to 217 the number of Israeli soldiers killed since the ground operation began. According to the US State Department, 21 Americans serving in the IDF have died in the conflict.

“This is a war that will determine Israel's future for decades,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a social media post on Tuesday. “The fall of our fighters is a necessity to achieve the objectives of the war.”

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Israel has gradually withdrawn some forces from northern Gaza in recent weeks, saying the next phase of the war will involve more targeted attacks and assassinations than the wholesale campaign that devastated much of the north.

But fighting continues, particularly in the central and southern areas, as well as around the city of Khan Younis, near Rafah on the border with Gaza and Egypt, where more than 1 million Palestinians have taken refuge.

Israel announced on Tuesday that its ground forces had encircled Khan Younis in the south and killed dozens of Palestinian fighters, along with the air force. The city is believed to be home to Hamas military chief Yehia Shinwar and is the main focus of the IDF's ongoing battle, with fighting expected to last weeks.

The IDF advised residents to evacuate several areas of Khan Yunis, including the city center, late Monday.

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Raed al-Nams, spokesman for the Palestinian Red Cross in Gaza, said, “The situation in Khan Younis has been very difficult until now. Entry or exit is basically prohibited.

According to a Washington Post analysis, the Israeli campaign in Gaza killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, in one of the most destructive wars so far this century, fought for more than 100 days. The Ministry does not distinguish between militants and civilians.

According to a military release this month, Israel has stationed at least three brigades, along with additional special forces, inside the enclave. But spokesman Hagari said Tuesday that “more reservations will be required in all theaters of war.”

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He said the military strategy going forward included “releasing reserves and focusing on operations”.

“We have to re-deploy reservists and re-enact all theaters of war in the south and the north,” he said. He added that Israel has another obligation to allow some of the hundreds of thousands listed since Hamas' October 7 attacks to return to their families, jobs and studies.

Hazem Balusha in Amman, Jordan and Lear Soroka in Tel Aviv contributed to this report.

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