“The significant achievements of the heavy fighting in the depths of the Gaza Strip unfortunately exact a heavy price,” says Israel’s defense minister.
The Israel Defense Forces announced early Wednesday morning the deaths of nine additional soldiers in the Gaza Strip, bringing to 11 the number of troops killed in action the previous day.
The soldiers were identified as Lt. Ariel Reich, 24; Cpl. Asif Luger, 21; Staff Sgt. Halel Solomon, 20; Staff Sgt. Erez Mishlovsky, 20; Staff Sgt. Adi Leon, 20; Staff Sgt. Roei Dawi, 20; Sgt. Adi Danan, 20; Cpl. Ido Ovadia, 19; and Cpl. Lior Siminovich,19.
Reich and Luger, who served in the 7th Armored Brigade, were killed when their tank drove over an explosive device. Two other soldiers were seriously wounded in the blast.
The other troops, who served in the Givati Infantry Brigade’s Tzabar Battalion, died when their armored vehicle was struck by a Hamas anti-tank missile. Four additional soldiers were wounded in the incident, one seriously.
On Tuesday evening, the military announced the deaths of Staff Sgt. Roei Wolf, 20, and Staff Sgt. Lavi Lipshitz, 20, both of whom served in the Givati Infantry Brigade’s reconnaissance unit.
“The fall of IDF fighters in battle against Hamas terrorists in Gaza is a hard and painful blow. Our hearts and thoughts are with their dear families,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday.
“The significant achievements of the heavy fighting in the depths of the Gaza Strip unfortunately exact a heavy price. We are prepared and ready for a long and complex campaign that requires courage, determination and perseverance. We will win,” he added.
The IDF continued to pound Hamas assets in Gaza from the land and air overnight Tuesday, striking terrorist cells and command and control centers. One of the latter was located in a multi-story building deliberately located next to a school and medical office, according to the Israeli military.
Since the start of the war on Oct. 7, the IDF has hit some 11,000 Hamas targets in southern Israel.
IDF ground forces continued to make significant gains in northern Gaza on Tuesday, as Israeli Air Force fighter jets launched a large-scale strike on Hamas’s Jabalia Battalion.
IDF forces operating in the Hamas stronghold in northern Gaza killed approximately 50 terrorists. The battalion’s commander, Ibrahim Biari, who was killed in an airstrike, was one of the leaders directly responsible for Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, according to the military.
On Tuesday evening, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Hagari singled out Hamas commander in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, stating that he bears responsibility not only for the Oct. 7 massacre but also the collapse of Gaza.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that U.S. commandos are in Israel to help authorities locate over 230 hostages being held in Gaza.
Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper that several dozen American special forces have been sent, in addition to a team that was already in the Jewish state for training.
The U.S. troops have not been assigned any combatant roles in Israel and will only be deployed to evacuate and secure embassies in the region if necessary.
The report added that several Western countries have covertly moved special forces to the region over fears Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon could eventually enter the war.
Image: Israel Defense Forces operating in the Gaza Strip in October 2023. Source: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.