Israel’s military reported additional casualties inside the Gaza Strip, a day after it said its first two soldiers were killed in its ground offensive against Hamas on Tuesday morning, the first such casualties in Gaza since Israel began ground operations. of there
According to Fox News’ Trey Yingst, who is in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were hit by an anti-tank guided missile while operating in the northern part of the strip, leaving nine dead.
Israeli forces have entered the second stage of their war with Hamas in what is expected to be a long military operation. Until this week, Israel relied heavily on airstrikes and artillery to retaliate against Hamas’s October 7 massacre of Israel.
Military officials have warned that the war will be long and difficult, possibly lasting months or more.
IDF: HAMAS COMMANDER WHO ‘CREATED’ OCTOBER 7 TERROR ATTACK KILLED IN AIRCRAFT
The IDF launched extensive ground operations this week, and ground troops are now tasked with clearing a complex network of Hamas tunnels and other strongholds. The IDF says it has struck 11,000 targets in the Gaza Strip since October 7.
“The combined forces of the IDF attacked several terrorist targets throughout the Gaza Strip overnight, including the operational headquarters and sections of Hamas terrorists,” a translated IDF statement said on Wednesday.
The two dead soldiers were both in their 20s. At least two other Israeli soldiers were wounded in the same battle. The ages of the nine dead soldiers were not given.
ISRAELI SOLDIERS REPORTED KILLED. FIRST IN GAZA SINCE BEGINNING OF INVASION
The IDF also killed a Hamas leader hiding in a refugee camp in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.
“His name [was] Ibrahim Biari, and was responsible, according to the Israelis, for a series of attacks,” including those on October 7, Yingst said.
“We are learning more about the strike that took place earlier today in the Jabalia refugee camp,” he said. “Israeli says warplanes target commander of Hamas’ central Jabalia battalion”.
The Israelis have repeatedly warned the Palestinians to vacate the camp in recent days due to the presence of Hamas operatives there. Many were unable or chose not to, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which said thousands of civilians have been killed since Israeli retaliation began following Hamas’ surprise terror attack on Israeli soil on October 7.
THE UN ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR AN END TO THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR: “A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH FOR MILLIONS”
Israeli leaders have vowed to destroy Hamas in its entirety, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a ceasefire during a speech on Monday.
“Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to brutality. That will not happen,” Netanyahu said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is the time for war – a war for our common future,” he continued. “Today, we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is time for all to decide where they will stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory. I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will in this fight.”
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Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken will fly to Israel later this week.
As of Tuesday, up to 9,900 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans.
Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano and Dana Karni contributed to this report.