At least nine Israeli soldiers were killed during an ambush attack in Gaza City, Israeli media reported Wednesday. The surprise attack comes as Israeli forces continue their ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
Israeli ground troops are still locked in heavy combat with Palestinian fighters in and around Gaza City, more than six weeks after soldiers invaded the north. Clashes raged overnight and into Wednesday in multiple areas, with especially heavy fighting in Shijaiyah, residents said.
Israeli media said the ambush that killed seven took place in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah, involving gunfire and several explosions. The same dense neighborhood was the scene of one of the biggest battles of an earlier war in Gaza.
The Israeli military said a total of eight soldiers were killed on Tuesday, and identified each of the fallen soldiers. The deceased included soldiers as young as 19, with the rest being in their 20s and 30s.
In a post on the social media platform X, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified:
- LTC Tomer Grinberg, 35 years old, the Commander of the Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion
- MAJ Roei Meldasi, 23 years old, a company commander of the Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion
- MAJ Moshe Avram Bar On, 23 years old, a company commander of the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion
- SGT Achia Daskal, 19 years old, a combat soldier in the Golani Brigade
- SSGT Oriya Yaakov, 19 years old, a combat soldier in the 664th Brigade
- CPT Liel Hayo, 22 years old, a platoon commander of the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion
- Maj. Ben Shelly, 26 years old, a company commander of Unit 669
- MSgt Rom Hecht, 20 years old, a combat soldier in Unit 669
The deaths come as the Israel-Hamas war crossed 60 days earlier this month.
The bloody conflict has sparked division among the international community. Some countries continue to support Israel, which is seeking revenge on Hamas after the terror group led the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history as a country on Oct. 7. Others point to a rising civilian death toll as a reason for an immediate cease-fire or an end to fighting.
President Biden’s administration has repeatedly called on Israel to take greater measures to spare Palestinians civilians, although the U.S. continues to rush military aid to its close ally. The United Nations Security Council has also called for Israel to enact a cease-fire as the air and ground offensive has resulted in the deaths of over 18,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
The Gaza Health Ministry is run by Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a foreign terrorist organization, and the death toll does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.
Nearly 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been forced to relocate during the war.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.