Seven soldiers were killed when an anti-tank missile fired from a home in Gaza struck their APC on Saturday; others killed in separate firefights with terrorists throughout the Strip
Eighteen IDF soldiers have been killed since the start of the ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza in multiple exchanges of fire with Hamas. The majority of the casualties occurred throughout Saturday and Sunday.
The IDF was still completing the process of identifying the fallen soldiers. The families had been notified of the soldiers’ deaths.
Additionally, Col. Rasan Alian, commander of the Golani Brigade, was moderately injured in an exchange of fire in Gaza. He has been hospitalized at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva Dozens of wounded IDF soldiers were brought from the fighting in Gaza to a number of hospitals across Israel on Sunday morning.In total, fifty three wounded Israeli soldiers have been hospitalized from the fighting in Gaza.
Fifteen soldiers were brought to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. Four were in serious condition and eleven were in light to moderate condition.
Two lightly injured soldiers were brought to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
Three soldiers were brought in moderate condition to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Two others were brought to Soroka with light wounds. Since the ground operation in Gaza began, eleven wounded soldiers have been evacuated to Soroka.
Four wounded soldiers were brought to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. Two of the evacuees were in serious condition, one was in serious to moderate condition and another was in moderate condition.
Since the beginning of the ground operation twelve soldiers were evacuated to Sheba.
Large numbers of Ground Forces entered the Gaza Strip overnight between Saturday and Sunday as Israel expanded its operation against Hamas. The increased presence in Gaza is aimed at destroying Hamas infrastructure, the IDF said.
It came after the government decided to move into the next stage of the operation, and after the units sent into Gaza completed intensive training and preparations.
Earlier on Saturday, two soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip, the IDF announced.
Staff Sergeant Bania Roval, a 20-year-old soldier from Holon, serving in the Paratroopers 101st Battalion, was shot dead by a terrorist in Gaza who emerged from a tunnel shaft and opened fire at soldiers. The terrorist was shot dead in return fire.
“Controlling tunnel shafts doesn’t give us full control of the entire tunnel,” a senior military source said.
The second soldier, 2nd-Lt. Bar Rahav, 21, from Ramat Yishai, from the Engineering Corps, was killed as a result of the activation of the Trophy missile defense system in a nearby tank. The system successfully blocked an anti-tank missile fired at the vehicle, but the soldier was killed in the process. The IDF is investigating.
Also on Saturday, two soldiers were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while thwarting the attempt to murder Israeli civilians. Their names were Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, of Nahariya, and Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, of Hod Hasharon, the army said.
On Friday, in the IDF’s first casualty, twenty-year-old Sergeant Eitan Barak from Herzliya was killed in Gaza under still unclear circumstances.
Military sources said Hamas gunmen have increased their attacks on soldiers who are searching and finding tunnel entrances in Palestinian homes near the border with Israel. Simultaneously, Hamas has ordered its members to use remaining tunnels for immediate cross-border attacks against Israeli civilians and military targets. Thirteen cross-border tunnels have been destroyed since Thursday night. The air force had struck some 500 targets since the start of the ground operation.
The IDF feels it has gained “significant control” of cross-border attack tunnels, and that this development is “upsetting Hamas,” the source added. Hamas is doing its best to hamper the army’s efforts, and attempts to send a donkey with explosives and a suicide bomber on a motorcycle on Friday are part of those attempts. Hamas is also trying to kidnap soldiers.
Additionally, two terrorists attempted to attack a D-9 armored bulldozer used in uncovering tunnels by the Engineering Corps. In the attack, two terrorists emerged from a tunnel entrance. One, a suicide bomber, detonated his explosives, and the second fired an anti-tank missile. Both were killed in the incident.