Eight Israeli Soldiers Killed in Hamas Ambush in Gaza

Eight Israeli soldiers were killed in a Hamas ambush near the southern end of the Palestinian enclave

Hamas fighters ambushed and killed eight Israeli troops in southern Gaza, marking one of West Jerusalem’s deadliest incidents in the Palestinian enclave since the war began last October.

The Hamas Al Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for a “complex ambush” on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) vehicles Saturday in Tal al-Sultan, west of Rafah. The incident began when a military bulldozer was attacked and caught fire. When other Israeli troops arrived to rescue wounded crew members, the Palestinian group attacked their armored personnel vehicle, resulting in more casualties, according to the Hamas military wing.

The IDF is investigating the incident to determine the possible causes. Israeli Foreign Minister expressed condolences for the fallen soldiers, saying, “Saturday is hard. Eight of our best sons were killed in Rafah. While knowing the price, they bravely entered Gaza to complete the mission of destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages.”

Israeli officials have disregarded international criticism and continued the IDF’s Rafah operation, despite the potential danger to civilians in a city where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge after their neighborhoods in other parts of the enclave were bombed. Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.

Saturday’s ambush was the deadliest incident for the IDF since January, when 21 soldiers were killed in an explosion that caused two buildings to collapse. More than 300 Israeli troops have perished since the fighting in Gaza started.

The ambush targeted an armored convoy that was reportedly heading toward some buildings captured by the IDF early Saturday morning. Troops in Israel’s 401st Armored Brigade killed around 50 gunmen in an overnight offensive in northwestern Tal al-Sultan, the IDF claimed. The soldiers had planned to rest in the captured buildings.