21 Israeli soldiers killed in biggest single loss during Gaza conflict: Army

Twenty-one Israeli soldiers were killed and several others injured in combat in southern Gaza on Monday, Israel's military confirmed on Tuesday, marking the biggest single loss of life for Israeli troops during the war on Gaza.

In a televised statement Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said two buildings collapsed on the soldiers after being hit by an RPG during a military operation.

The buildings were full of landmines that Israeli troops planted to demolish the Palestinian structures.

He added the Hamas fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli tank, while, simultaneously, an explosion caused two two-story buildings to collapse.

“The buildings collapsed due to this explosion, while most of the forces were inside and near them,” Hagari continued.

Isaac Herzog has described an “unbearably difficult morning” today as “more and more names of the best of our sons” are being added to tombstones.

Explaining how 21 Israeli soldiers died in a single day of combat in Gaza on Monday, he stated “intense battles are taking place in an extremely challenging space”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also stated that the deaths of 21 Israeli soldiers was “one of the most difficult days” since the outbreak of war.

“I mourn for our fallen heroic soldiers. I hug the families in their time of need and we all pray for the peace of our wounded,” Netanyahu wrote on X.

“The IDF has launched an investigation into the disaster. We must draw the necessary lessons and do everything to keep our warriors safe,” he continued, adding Israel “will not stop fighting until the absolute victory.”

This is the highest daily death toll for Israeli troops since the start of the Gaza ground offensive in late October.

The deaths bring the death toll of Israeli soldiers in Gaza since a ground assault began on Oct. 27 to 219, while the army’s overall death toll since the launch of the Israeli offensive against Gaza on Oct. 7 has risen to 565.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7, killing at least 25,300 Palestinians and injuring 63,000. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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