21 Israeli soldiers killed in ‘deadliest battle of Gaza war’ as two buildings explode & leave them buried beneath rubble

21 Israeli soldiers killed in ‘deadliest battle of Gaza war’ as two buildings explode & leave them buried beneath rubble

AT least 21 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the deadliest attack on the force since the war against Hamas began.

The troops were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings in central Gaza on Monday when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a tank close by.

IDFElkana Yehuda Sfez, 25, was among the 21 soldiers killed[/caption]

IDFMaster Sgt Yoav Levi, 29, also died in the blast[/caption]

IDFSgt. First Class Yuval Lopez, 27, was also named by the IDF[/caption]

The blast triggered the explosives to detonate early – leaving them buried under rubble as the building collapsed on top of them.

Emergency crews worked for hours to rescue casualties from the debris, but 21 soldiers could not be saved.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said “An RPG was fired by terrorists at a tank securing the forces, and simultaneously, an explosion occurred at two two-story buildings.

“The buildings collapsed due to this explosion, while most of the forces were inside and near them.”

The IDF named ten of the 21 killed in the horror explosion hours after.

They are Sgt. Maj. Matan Lazar, 32, Sgt. First Class Hadar Kapeluk, 23, Sgt. Maj. Sergey Gontmaher, 37, Sgt. First Class Elkana Yehuda Sfez, 25, Sgt. First Class Yuval Lopez, 27, Master Sgt Yoav Levi, 29, Sgt. First Class Nicholas Berger, 22, Sgt. First Class Cedrick Garin, 23, Sgt. Maj. Rafael Elias Mosheyoff, 33, and Sgt. Maj. Barak Haim Ben Valid, 33.

It later named another seven as Sgt. First Class Ahmad Abu Latif, 26, Cpt. Nir Binyamin, 29, Master Sgt. Elkana Vizel, 35, Sgt. First Class Israel Socol, 24, Cpt. Ariel Mordechay Wollfstal, 28, Sgt. First Class Sagi Idan, 24, andSgt. Maj. Mark Kononovich, 35.

The final four names have not yet been confirmed.

A further three soldiers were also killed in a separate attack in southern Gaza, the military confirmed.

The 24 deaths mark the largest single loss of life for the military since the battle against Hamas began three months ago.

More than 200 IDF soldiers have been killed since troops started blitzing Gaza following Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog sent his condolences to the soldier’s families, saying “more and more of the best of our sons” have died in the war.

He said: “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.

“The intense battles are taking place in an extremely challenging space, and we send strength to the soldiers of the IDF and the security forces, who are working with endless determination to realize the goals of the fighting.

“On behalf of the entire nation, I console the families and pray for the healing of the wounded.

“Even on this sad and difficult morning, we are strong and remember that together we will win.”

It comes as large numbers of Israelis continue to put pressure on the government to halt past military operations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead until Israel crushes the ruling Hamas militant group and wins the freedom of more than 100 hostages still being held captive in Gaza.

But Israelis are increasingly divided on the question of whether it’s possible to do either.

On Monday, hostages’ family members disrupted a committee meeting in Israel’s parliament, yelling: “You won’t sit here while they are dying there.”

Hamas has insisted there is “no chance” the remaining 130 hostages will be released after Netanyahu rejected another ceasefire deal.

The Israeli PM on Sunday turned down the conditions presented by Hamas that would include Israel’s complete withdrawal and leaving the terror group in power in Gaza.

Netanyahu said: “In exchange for the release of our hostages, Hamas demands the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of all the murderers and rapists.

“And leaving Hamas intact.

“I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas.”

In response, hours later, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Tel Aviv’s refusal to end the military offensive in Gaza “means there is no chance for the return of the (Israeli) captives”.

Among those still being held by the terror group, there are two Brits, Lord David Cameron said.

Following the October 7 massacres in southern Israel, Hamas abducted and dragged some 250 hostages back into Gaza – 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to be dead.

Sgt. First Class Nicholas Berger, 22, was killed in the explosionIDF

IDFSgt. Maj. Rafael Elias Mosheyoff, 33, is among the 21 killed[/caption]

IDFSgt. Maj. Sergey Gontmaher, 37, also died in the explosion[/caption]

IDFSgt. First Class Hadar Kapeluk, 23, was among those killed[/caption]

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