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Israeli soldiers

In Deadliest Incident of Gaza Combat, 21 Soldiers Killed as Buildings Collapse in Blast

Twenty-one Israeli soldiers were killed Monday, January 22, when they came under attack in the southern Gaza Strip, triggering a blast that collapsed two buildings with soldiers inside them, the military said Tuesday morning.

The buildings were being rigged for demolition by troops when Palestinian gunmen fired an RPG at a tank securing the forces. A second blast then occurred in the buildings, possibly as a result of a second RPG, leading to their collapse.

It was the single deadliest incident since the start of Israel’s ground offensive in the enclave and raised the military death toll in the operation to 219. At a press conference on Tuesday morning, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that troops were operating in an area around 600 meters from the border, across from the southern Israeli community of Kissufim.

They were destroying structures and Hamas sites as part of the army’s efforts to establish a buffer zone to allow residents of Israeli border communities to return to their homes. According to military sources, two of the soldiers were killed by the RPG fire on the tank.

Several other soldiers were wounded in the blast, including one in serious condition. Hagari said the explosion in the buildings was likely a result of mines planted by troops to later demolish the structures, but the cause of the detonation was still under investigation. The buildings may have been hit by a second RPG. Rescue forces described the scene as reminiscent of the aftermath of an earthquake. (TOI / VFI News)

“Lord, we pray for the families that mourn the loss of the 21 brave soldiers. We pray that You comfort them and never leave their side during this devastating period of grief. We offer our sincerest condolences to them and we ask that You mediate the swift healing of the other soldiers who were injured during the blast. May they recover as soon as possible and regain their strength and vigor. Lastly, we pray for an end to all the hostilities and we hope that terrorism will be completely eradicated in Israel for good.”

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