21 died when buildings collapsed after grenade attack Monday, Israel says, while 3 died elsewhere
Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip, the military said on Tuesday, the biggest Israeli death toll in a single day of the war against Hamas, as Israel pressed on with its biggest ground assault so far in 2024.
Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said 21 soldiers were killed in an explosion when two buildings they had mined for demolition collapsed after militants fired grenades at a nearby tank.
Earlier, the military said three soldiers were killed in a separate attack in southern Gaza.
"Yesterday we experienced one of our most difficult days since the war erupted," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "In the name of our heroes, for the sake of our lives, we will not stop fighting until absolute victory."
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the war would determine Israel's future "for decades to come."
"The fall of the fighters is a requirement to achieve the goals of the war," Gallant said.
The deaths came as Israeli forces mount their biggest ground campaign of the new year, pushing deep into the western part of Khan Younis, the main city in the south of the Palestinian enclave, near areas sheltering hundreds of thousands of people who fled other parts of the enclave.
"Over the past day, [Israeli Defence Forces] troops carried out an extensive operation during which they encircled Khan Younis and deepened the operation in the area. The area is a significant stronghold of Hamas's Khan Younis Brigade," the military said.
"Ground troops engaged in close-quarters combat, directed [air force] strikes, and used intelligence to co-ordinate fire, resulting in the elimination of dozens of terrorists," it said.
21 IDF soldiers were killed in action yesterday (Monday) as they continued to operate against Hamas centers of gravity in southern Gaza.
Based on the information available at this stage, the troops were operating in eastern Gaza near Khan Younis. The forces were operating to…