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Israel suffers biggest solider loss as criticism of war mounts at home

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Monday’s heavy death toll could give new impetus to calls for Israel to suspend the offensive or even stop it altogether.

ANNOUNCEMENT

The Israeli army said on Tuesday that 21 soldiers had been killed in Gaza, marking the biggest loss of life since fighting began in October.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said troops were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings on Monday when a militant lobbed a rocket-propelled grenade at a nearby tank, causing it to explode prematurely.

The buildings collapsed on the soldiers.

Israeli channel Channel 13 says the toll is even higher and that more names will be announced.

It is a criticism of the way the Israeli government has handled the three-month-old war against Hamas, which is expanding both at home and abroad.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press on until Israel crushes Hamas and achieves the freedom of more than 100 hostages held captive in Gaza.

However, Israelis are increasingly divided over whether to do both.

Some are fiercely critical of the government’s hardline militarist approach, with Israel ruling out a ceasefire with Hamas in exchange for the release of the hostages.

Some hostages were killed by Israeli fire.

On Monday, the prisoners’ families interrupted a committee meeting of the Israeli parliament.

“You will not stay here while they are dying there,” they shouted.

Monday’s heavy death toll could give new impetus to calls for Israel to suspend the offensive or even stop it altogether.

In the past, large numbers of Israeli casualties have put pressure on the Israeli government to halt military operations.

Palestinian civilians killed during military offensive

Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip hit the southern town of Khan Younis hard on Monday, prompting thousands of Palestinians to flee further south.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, 190 people were killed and 340 injured in Gaza in the last 24 hours.

The families set off on foot along the coastal highway, smoke billowing from the town behind them. Others loaded blankets and personal items onto vehicles or donkey carts.

The war has displaced approximately 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. One in four of them dies of hunger, the UN says.

The Gaza Ministry of Health says more than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, which broke out on October 7, when Gaza militants attacked southern Israel.

ANNOUNCEMENT

About 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage.

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