January 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

24 Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza

January 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

24 Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza

Latest Developments

Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed in southern Gaza on January 22. An attack by Palestinian terrorists caused an explosion, collapsing two buildings with soldiers inside them and killing 21. Three other soldiers died in a separate combat operation. The two episodes produced the IDF’s highest daily death toll since ground operations began in Gaza in late October in the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7. Israel has now lost more than 550 soldiers since October 7, including more than 200 IDF soldiers who have died in Gaza fighting Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Expert Analysis

“As with all its major wars, Israel has looked to its almost 300,000 reservists to provide the military backbone. They’ve served and sacrificed because this is an existential war, right next door, and not an expeditionary campaign of choice on the other side of the globe. Western observers, including the legion of arm-chair generals that have appeared since 10/7, would do well to remember that when pressuring the Israelis on timelines or tactics.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The tragic loss of 24 Israeli soldiers in Gaza illustrates the complexity of fighting Hamas and the terrorist infrastructure it has created in Gaza. The terrorist organization turned civilian areas into fortresses of terror, stockpiling weapons in homes and placing rocket launchers and tunnels around buildings. Eliminating this threat requires dangerous work, and the death toll is an example of the high cost Israel is paying to defeat an enemy that exploited civilian areas for terror purposes for decades.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

IDF to Investigate Cause of Deadly Explosion

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on January 23 that “we are still examining and investigating the details of the incident and the cause of the explosion” that killed 21 soldiers. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the IDF had opened an inquiry into the tragedy. “We must learn the necessary lessons and do everything to safeguard the lives of our fighters,” Netanyahu said. An article in Israel’s major newspaper Yediot Aharonot noted that the “incident highlights, reinforces [the] need to eliminate [the] Hamas threat to launch attacks across the border described as an objective of the war.”

Israel Continues Operations in Gaza

Israel continued operations in Gaza on January 23, encircling the city of Khan Younis, according to the IDF. Dozens of terrorists were eliminated, and the IDF said it “targeted terrorist cells carrying RPGs near the troops, those launching anti-tank missiles, and terror operatives who had rigged compounds with explosives.” The IDF has been fighting Hamas in Khan Younis, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s home town, since early December.

Tunnel for Holding Hostages Uncovered in Khan Younis,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Offers Two-Month Pause in Fighting in Exchange for Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

12,000 Trucks With Humanitarian Aid Have Entered Gaza Since October 7,” FDD Flash Brief


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