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5 Israeli soldiers killed by friendly fire in Gaza

12:13 AM May 17, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
5 israeli soldiers killed by friendly fire in gaza
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New Delhi, May 16: Five Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza, marking one of the deadliest incidents for Israeli forces since the conflict began in October, according to the military. Israeli media report that the soldiers were mistakenly hit by Israeli tank fire on Wednesday in Jabalia, a town in northern Gaza where Israeli forces are engaged in combat.

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The troops had re-entered Jabalia earlier this week after pulling out, claiming that enemy fighters had regrouped in the area. The incident occurred in the midst of a major operation by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), which included air strikes and ground assaults. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Jabalia since Saturday when the IDF launched the operation. The fighting has also intensified in Rafah, a southern town where about half of Gaza’s 2.3 million civilians had taken refuge. According to the United Nations, approximately 600,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah, with an additional 100,000 displaced due to renewed fighting in the north.

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The soldiers who were killed were part of the 202nd Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade. An initial IDF investigation revealed that the soldiers were in a building in Jabalia refugee camp, just meters away from Israeli tanks. The tanks identified a weapon in the building and fired two shells, resulting in the deaths of five soldiers and injuries to seven others, three of whom were severely wounded.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed deep concern over the humanitarian impact of the Israeli operation, emphasizing the need to restore the full operational capacity of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid into southern Gaza. “What we don’t want to see is a situation where we’ve basically reversed what’s happened in recent months - where assistance was working its way through in the south but very little was getting to the north,” he said.

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The conflict escalated after Israel launched a military campaign to dismantle the Hamas group responsible for a cross-border attack on southern Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the taking of 252 hostages. Since the start of the campaign, over 35,230 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Gaza health ministry.

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The IDF stated on Wednesday that it had commenced “an operation against terrorist operatives and infrastructure in the centre of Jabalia camp” overnight. The statement noted that IDF troops have been engaged in intense battles with numerous terrorist cells, successfully eliminating a significant number of combatants.

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