Israel-Gaza war: IDF says 24 soldiers killed in Gaza in one day

  • By Yolande Knell
  • BBC News, Jerusalem

Image caption,

A cloud of smoke covers the skyline of Gaza

The Israeli army says 24 of its soldiers were killed in Gaza on Monday – making it the deadliest day for Israeli forces since the start of their ground operation.

Twenty-one reservists were killed in an explosion.

The chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Daniel Hagari, said it is thought a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Palestinian armed fighters hit a tank near two buildings they were in.

He said the buildings probably exploded as a result of mines that Israeli forces had placed there to demolish them.

The IDF says it is still investigating the details of what happened.

The reservists were killed in central Gaza, close to the kibbutz of Kissufim on the Israeli side of the border, at around 16:00 (14:00 GMT) on Monday, Rear Admiral Hagari said.

He said they were involved in an operation to allow for residents of southern Israel to safely return to their homes after tens of thousands were evacuated after the Hamas attack on 7 October.

On Monday, Israel’s military had already confirmed that three officers were killed in a separate attack in southern Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the deaths on Monday as “one of the most difficult days since the war erupted”.

“In the name of our heroes, for the sake of our lives, we will not stop fighting until absolute victory,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said it had been an “unbearably difficult morning” learning about the extent of the death toll.

“On behalf of the entire nation, I console the families and pray for the healing of the wounded,” he said.

Israel launched the war with the declared aim of destroying Hamas after waves of its gunmen killed 1,300 people – mostly civilians – and took about 250 others hostage in the unprecedented attack.

According to the IDF website, 217 soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Israel’s ground invasion on 27 October out of a total of 545 killed since 7th October.

At least 25,295 people – mainly woman and children – have been killed in the Israeli military campaign in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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