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Friday, May 24, 2024

In last 24 hours, highest number of IDF soldiers killed in Gaza

IDF is investigating the incident, with suspicions that a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Palestinian armed fighters hit the tank near the buildings.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military reported the loss of 24 soldiers in the Gaza Strip, marking the highest single-day death toll for Israel in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The casualties occurred during Israel’s most extensive ground assault in 2024.

According to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 21 soldiers died in an explosion when two buildings, rigged with mines for demolition, collapsed after militants launched grenades at a nearby tank. The IDF is investigating the incident, with suspicions that a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Palestinian armed fighters hit the tank near the buildings.

In a separate attack in southern Gaza, three soldiers were reported dead. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the day as one of the most challenging since the conflict began and pledged to continue fighting until “absolute victory.”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized that the war would shape Israel’s future for decades. As Israeli forces intensified their ground campaign in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, concerns rose about the impact on civilians, with reports of blockades, storming of hospitals, and difficulty in reaching the wounded and dead.

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The death toll of Israeli troops coincides with growing discontent within Israel regarding Netanyahu’s war strategy, which aims to eliminate Hamas. Netanyahu’s recent rejection of Palestinian statehood, breaking with Washington’s long-standing policy, has added to internal tensions. Relatives of hostages held in Gaza called for more efforts to bring them home, even if it means adjusting the military campaign.

Former military chief-of-staff Gadi Eisenkot, a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, criticized the campaign’s progress, stating it had yet to achieve its objectives. Eisenkot called for swift elections to replace a government he claimed had lost public confidence.

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Palestinian authorities have officially confirmed the death toll of at least 25,295 Gazans since the commencement of Israel’s campaign. Thousands more are feared to be buried in the debris, as the offensive has left the enclave devastated. Almost the entire population of Gaza, totaling 2.3 million people, has experienced displacement, with the majority confined to small towns north and south of Khan Younis. Many are now enduring harsh conditions, residing in improvised tents, facing shortages of essential supplies such as food and medicine, and lacking access to clean water.