Deadliest Attack Since Gaza Offensive Commences Claims Lives of 21 Israeli Troops

21 Israeli Troops Are Killed In The Deadliest Attack On The Military Since The Gaza Offensive Began

Palestinian militants executed the deadliest single attack on Israeli forces since the initiation of the war, claiming the lives of 21 soldiers, as confirmed by the military on Tuesday. This represents a significant setback and could intensify calls for a cease-fire.

In a subsequent development, the military reported the encirclement of the southern city of Khan Younis, Gaza’s second-largest, marking a substantial advance.

However, the impact of achieving Israel’s primary objectives of defeating Hamas and securing the release of hostages remains uncertain, especially as cease-fire negotiations gain momentum.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed condolences for the soldiers who lost their lives in an incident triggered by a rocket-propelled grenade blast during explosive-laying operations.

Deadliest Attack Since Gaza Offensive Commences Claims Lives of 21 Israeli Troops
Deadliest Attack Since Gaza Offensive Commences Claims Lives of 21 Israeli Troops (Credits: PBS)

Despite growing divisions among Israelis on the feasibility of simultaneously crushing Hamas and securing the release of captives, Netanyahu pledged to continue the offensive until “absolute victory.”

A senior Egyptian official revealed that Israel proposed a two-month cease-fire, suggesting the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and the relocation of top Hamas leaders in Gaza to other countries.

However, Hamas rejected the proposal, insisting on a cessation of hostilities and Israeli withdrawal from Gaza before releasing more hostages. Egypt and Qatar, mediators in past agreements between Israel and Hamas, are working on a multi-stage proposal to bridge the gaps.

Since the conflict’s onset on October 7, Israel’s offensive, triggered by a border breach by Hamas, has resulted in over 1,200 deaths and the abduction of around 250 individuals.

The situation has led to widespread death, displacement of approximately 85% of Gaza’s population, and one-quarter facing starvation. Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have targeted U.S. and Israeli interests in support of the Palestinians.

As of now, at least 217 soldiers have been killed since the ground offensive began, with Netanyahu acknowledging it as one of the war’s most challenging days but reaffirming the commitment to the offensive.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported 195 people killed in Israeli strikes in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in the strip to 25,490, without distinguishing between civilians and combatants.

The military claims to have killed thousands of militants, largely defeating Hamas in northern Gaza. Recent focus has shifted to Khan Younis and refugee camps in central Gaza, with the military asserting progress in killing dozens of militants and encircling the city, though these claims are unverified.

International pressure is mounting on Israel to scale back the offensive, with calls for the creation of a Palestinian state after the war. The United States, a key military aid provider, has joined these calls.

However, Netanyahu, facing declining popularity, has rejected these demands and hinted at expanding operations, including taking control of the Gaza-Egypt border area.

Egypt strongly opposes any Israeli move to occupy the border area, emphasizing potential threats to decades-old relations and expressing concerns about a potential influx of Palestinian refugees into the Sinai Peninsula.

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