‘Best of our sons’: 24 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza

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‘Best of our sons’: 24 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza

President Herzog speaks of 'an unbearably difficult morning, in which more and more names of the best of our sons are added to the gravestones of heroes'

Israeli soldiers killed in central Gaza on January 22, 2023.
Israeli soldiers killed in central Gaza on January 22, 2023.

Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed in central Gaza on Monday, the IDF announced on Tuesday morning in what was its highest number of deaths in one day since the army launched its ground invasion of the Hamas-run enclave. 

The soldiers were on a mission to dismantle Hamas in an area some 600 meters from the border to create a buffer zone that would allow Israelis to return to their homes near the Gaza border.

“As far as we know, at around 4pm, an RPG was fired by terrorists at a tank securing the forces, and simultaneously, an explosion occurred at two two-storey buildings. The buildings collapsed due to this explosion, while most of the forces were inside and near them,” IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the IDF has launched an investigation into “the disaster. We must draw the necessary lessons and do everything to preserve the lives of our warriors.”

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog issued a statement shortly after saying: “An unbearably difficult morning, in which more and more names of the best of our sons are added to the gravestones of heroes, in a war that has no justice.”

Defence minister Yoav Gallant called the war against Hamas a war that will “determine the future of Israel for decades to come – the fall of the soldiers compels us to achieve the goals of the fighting”.

Member of the war cabinet and leader of the National Unity party, Benny Gantz, also sent his condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers, urging Israelis to be “united, remember the heavy price we are forced to pay for such a just war and the lofty goal for which our heroes fell – to secure our future, to return our daughters and sons, and to take care of Israel forever.

“Especially today, we are sending strength to all IDF soldiers and their commanders. We are all behind you,” he added.

The IDF announced the names of some of the fallen soldiers on Tuesday morning:

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Mark Kononovich, 35, from Herzliya.

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Barak Haim Ben Valid, 33, from Rishon Lezion.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Israel Socol, 24, from Karnei Shomron.

Cpt. (res.) Ariel Mordechay Wollfstal, 28, from Elazar.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Sagi Idan, 24,, from Rosh Haayin.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Ahmad Abu Latif, 26, from Rahat.

Cpt. (res.) Nir Binyamin, 29, from Givatayim.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Cedrick Garin, 23, from Tel Aviv.

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Rafael Elias Mosheyoff, 33, from Pardes Hanna-Karkur.

Master Sgt. (res.) Elkana Vizel, 35, from Bnei Dekalim.

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Matan Lazar, 32, from Haifa.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Hadar Kapeluk, 23, from Mevo Beitar.

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Sergey Gontmaher, 37,  from Ramat Gan.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Nicholas Berger, 22,  from Jerusalem.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Elkana Yehuda Sfez, 25, from Kiryat Arba.

Master Sgt. (res.) Yoav Levi, 29, from Yehud-Monosson.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Yuval Lopez, 27, from Alon Shvut.

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