The Israeli PM has vowed retribution after Hamas killed 21 troops in a single attack, the most since the war began
Israeli troops have suffered their deadliest day in Gaza since the war with Hamas began in October, resulting in the killings of 24 soldiers and triggering a vow from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to exact retribution against the Palestinian militants.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) disclosed its latest losses on Tuesday, saying that 21 of the deaths occurred when Hamas fighters fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli forces near Khan Younis on Monday. The resulting blast triggered an explosion that caused the collapse of two buildings while many Israeli troops were either inside the structures or standing nearby.
”Following the explosion, commanders operating in the field, along with rescue teams that arrived at the scene, have been executing a very complex operation to evacuate the casualties and locate the injured,” the IDF said. Israeli officials didn’t provide details on the other three IDF troop fatalities that were suffered on Monday.
Netanyahu posted a statement calling Monday “one of the most difficult days since the outbreak of the war.” He said the IDF was investigating the incident to “draw the necessary lessons and do everything to preserve the lives of our warriors.” The PM also pledged a strong response: “In the name of our heroes, for the sake of our lives, we will not stop fighting until the absolute victory.”
More than 25,000 people – primarily civilians – have been killed in the Palestinian enclave since the war began, according to Gaza health officials. Hamas triggered the conflict by launching surprise attacks that killed more than 1,100 people – including almost 700 Israeli civilians and 71 foreigners – and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. About 220 IDF soldiers have been killed since the Israeli ground offensive began in late October.
Israeli troops have encircled Khan Younis, the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city, where Hamas leaders are believed to be hiding, the IDF said. Palestinian health officials said on Monday that Israeli forces had stormed one of the city’s hospitals and besieged another.
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Netanyahu has rejected calls for negotiating a two-state agreement, allowing for the creation of an independent Palestinian nation, to end the conflict. The Israeli government reportedly proposed a ceasefire for as long as 60 days to allow for the release of all remaining hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Hamas has rejected the offer, multiple media outlets said on Tuesday.
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