Twenty-one Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday (22 January) in an attack in the southern Gaza Strip.
The incident happened after a Palestinian gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank, setting off a secondary explosion that brought two buildings down with soldiers inside them.
The buildings were being rigged for demolition by troops when Palestinian gunmen fired an RPG at a tank securing the forces.
A second blast then occurred in the buildings, possibly as a result of a second RPG, leading to their collapse.
It was the single deadliest incident since the start of Israel’s ground offensive in the enclave, and raised the military death toll in the operation to 219.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that troops were operating in an area around 600 meters from the border, across from the southern Israeli community of Kissufim.
They were destroying structures and Hamas sites as part of the army’s efforts to establish a buffer zone to allow residents of Israeli border communities to return to their homes.
“At around 4 p.m., an RPG was fired by gunmen at a tank securing the forces, and simultaneously, an explosion occurred in two two-story buildings. The buildings collapsed due to this explosion, while most of the forces were inside and near them,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mourned the loss of 21 soldiers in the deadliest single attack in Gaza and says the army will fight on until absolute victory.
In a posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Netanyahu said Monday was one of the hardest days since the outbreak of the war.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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