Israel reports 24 troop deaths in Gaza, the highest single-day toll
The Israeli military announced Tuesday that 24 soldiers were killed in Gaza, marking the highest death toll in a single day since the conflict began in October. This escalation coincided with what Palestinians described as the most intense bombardment of southern Gaza to date.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, reported that an explosion killed 21 soldiers. According to Hagari, militants launched rocket-propelled grenades at a tank. Simultaneously, an explosion in two buildings — previously rigged with explosives by Israeli forces for demolition — resulted in their collapse onto the troops. "We are investigating the details and causes of the explosion," Hagari stated. Additionally, the military confirmed three separate fatalities in southern Gaza.
Israeli forces intensified operations in western Khan Younis, Gaza, with comprehensive air, sea, and land bombardments. Ashraf al Qidra, a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman, told Reuters that these operations included storming a hospital and detaining medical staff.
Israel has not commented on the situation at the hospital. Al Qidra noted that at least 50 people were killed in Khan Younis on Sunday night, and ongoing sieges at medical facilities hindered access to numerous casualties.
The United States has urged Israel to safeguard innocent Palestinians and medical personnel. John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesman, affirmed Israel's right to self-defense on Monday but emphasized adherence to international law and the protection of civilians and medical staff.
Israel accuses Hamas fighters of operating near hospitals, a claim both Hamas and medical personnel deny. Israel's offensive, initiated last week to target Khan Younis — now declared a principal Hamas base — followed the Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel, which, according to Israeli reports, resulted in 1,200 deaths.
Israel has pledged to eliminate Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement governing Gaza. Gaza's Health Ministry reported at least 25,295 fatalities since Oct. 7.
International concern grows over the Palestinian death toll and a burgeoning humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The U.S. has called for reduced civilian casualties and an end to violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, maintaining its support for a two-state solution.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels, focused on potential infrastructure projects, avoiding two-state solution discussions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regards a Palestinian state as an existential threat to Israel.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell proposed a peace roadmap, suggesting an EU and Arab-nation-organized peace conference, with invitations to the U.S. and U.N. as conveners.
Following the death of a 17-year-old Palestinian American in the West Bank, reportedly at the hands of Israeli security forces, Washington has demanded an investigation and accountability. The youth's uncle told Reuters he died amid clashes involving Palestinian stone-throwing.
Violence has surged in the Israel-occupied West Bank, parallel to the conflict in Gaza since October.