Eight Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza Explosion as Conflict Intensifies


JERUSALEM/CAIRO, June 15 (Reuters) – Eight Israeli soldiers were killed in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, as military operations continued around the city of Rafah and airstrikes hit several areas, resulting in the deaths of at least 19 Palestinians.

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The soldiers, all from a combat engineering unit, were in an armored carrier that exploded due to the detonation of engineering materials on board, reportedly in violation of standard protocol. The incident occurred early in the morning in Tel al-Sultan, west of Rafah, and is currently under investigation by the military.

Hamas’s armed wing claimed responsibility, stating that the vehicle was trapped in a pre-prepared minefield. Israeli tanks advanced into Tel al-Sultan, and shells hit the coastal area where thousands of displaced Palestinians had sought refuge.

Despite international calls for a ceasefire, an agreement remains elusive more than eight months into the conflict, with ongoing cross-border exchanges of fire with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Israeli airstrikes on two houses in Gaza City suburbs killed at least 15 people, according to residents, and another four were killed in separate attacks in the south. The Israeli military reported capturing significant quantities of weapons in Rafah, hidden in Hamas’s extensive tunnel network.

The military also accused militants of firing rockets from a humanitarian area in central Gaza, with two rockets landing in open areas in Israel and three falling short within Gaza. The military criticized the use of humanitarian sites for attacks, calling it a “cynical exploitation” by terrorist organizations.

Political Ramifications and Protests

The soldiers’ deaths could complicate the political landscape for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following the resignation of centrist former general Benny Gantz from the government. Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv, demanding the return of hostages held by Hamas.

In a video statement, Netanyahu reiterated the goals of the war to defeat Hamas and secure the hostages’ release, despite ongoing protests highlighting divisions in Israeli society.

Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, stated that Israel could only regain its hostages by ending the war and withdrawing from Gaza. Hamas, which led a deadly rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7, continues to hold more than 100 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Repeated attempts to negotiate a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas demanding a permanent end to the war and Israeli withdrawal, while Netanyahu insists on continuing the war until Hamas is eradicated. The Gaza health ministry reported at least 37,296 Palestinians killed in the conflict, including 30 in the past 24 hours.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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