At least 21 Israeli soldiers killed in ‘single deadliest attack’ on IDF since Gaza war began

23 January 2024, 07:20

The Israeli military says 21 of its soldiers have been killed in a single attack.
The Israeli military says 21 of its soldiers have been killed in a single attack. Picture: Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

The Israeli military says 21 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza, in what has been described as the deadliest attack on the force since the beginning of their ground operation.

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Local reports suggest they died when two buildings collapsed, after explosions inside.

A spokesman for the IDF, Daniel Hagari, said militants had fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank and an explosion hit the two-storey building at the same time.

"We are still studying and investigating the details of the event and the reasons for the explosion," he said.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog said it had been an “unbearably difficult” morning as issued a statement following the news of the soldiers.

He wrote on X: “Behind every name is a family whose world has fallen on one, a family that we take to our hearts with sorrow and pain, and at the same time with pride - for the heroism of the generation, for the missions and evils, for sticking to the goal and for the love of the people and the homeland.

“The intense battles are taking place in an extremely challenging space, and we are strengthening the soldiers of the IDF and the security forces who are working with endless determination to realise the goals of the fighting.”

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It comes after the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza announced on Monday that in more than three months of conflict since attacks on Israel, more than 25-thousand Palestinians have died.

At least 178 bodies were brought to Gaza's hospitals in 24 hours, along with nearly 300 injured people, the ministry spokesperson said - resulting in one of the deadliest days of conflict since the war began following Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7.

While many continue to query the figures provided by the Hamas-run ministry, the World Health Organisation has previously deemed numbers from the ministry as reliable.

The Health Ministry specified 25,105 have been killed in Gaza so far, and another 62,681 have been injured. The spokesperson said many casualties also remain buried under rubble from strikes or in areas where medics cannot reach them.