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Israel loses 24 soldiers in one day in Gaza ground invasion

Israel loses 24 soldiers in Gaza, building collapses on unit during attempted demolition
2 min read
The recent killings were estimated as the biggest single-day toll since the start of its ground operation on October 27
Israeli troops carry the coffin of fellow soldier Hadar Kapeluk during his funeral in Jerusalem [Getty]

Israel said Tuesday 24 soldiers were killed in the army's biggest single-day losses since the start of the ground war on Gaza, amid growing pressure on the government to find a way to end the conflict.

Twenty-four soldiers were killed on Monday, with the army saying 21 of them were reservists slain when rocket-propelled grenade fire hit a tank and two buildings they were trying to blow up.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an investigation was launched into the "disaster" and that Israel "must learn the necessary lessons". Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the "deaths of 24 of our fighters, our best sons... is a heavy blow".

Israeli soldiers have detonated a number of civilian buildings in Gaza, including hospitals, universities and residential blocks, claiming that the buildings were used by Hamas. Observers have highlighted that the use of controlled demolitions indicates the lack of an imminent threat from the now-destroyed infrastructure, as soldiers are required to lay the explosives in and around the target sites.

Videos posted to social media have also shown Israeli troops celebrating the demolition of housing blocks and other civilian buildings in Gaza.

Fighting raged in Khan Younis, the biggest city in southern Gaza, which the army says it has "encircled".

Witnesses said powerful explosions rocked Khan Younis, as well as Deir al-Balah in north Gaza and Rafah in the south.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff at Khan Younis's Nasser Hospital felt the "ground shaking".

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces had hit its headquarters in Khan Yunis "resulting in injuries among internally displaced individuals who sought safety on our premises".