Israel said 21 of its soldiers were killed in Gaza on Monday, the worst single-day death toll for the military since the war against Hamas began in October.
At around 4 p.m. local time in central Gaza, militants fired on an Israeli tank and, at the same time, there were massive explosions at two nearby buildings, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday.
“The buildings collapsed as a result of this explosion, while most of the soldiers were inside and around the buildings,” the spokesman said. “The buildings likely exploded from ordnance that our forces set up there to blow up the buildings and the terror infrastructure in the area.”
Israeli forces are advancing deeper into the southern and central parts of Gaza and fighting remains intense. Around 200 Israeli soldiers had been killed in Gaza before the latest incident, according to the military.
Israel is facing mounting international pressure to wind down the fighting and reach a diplomatic agreement with Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union — to release more than 100 hostages still held by the group.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the war will continue until Hamas is destroyed and all of the captives are freed.
Hamas killed around 1,200 people when its militants invaded southern Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7. Israel’s retaliatory bombardment and ground assault has killed more than 25,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.
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