La Jornada – Explosion kills eight Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza

La Jornada – Explosion kills eight Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza
La Jornada – Explosion kills eight Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza

Jerusalem. An explosion in southern Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the army said Saturday, marking the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

The attack, which came after more than eight months of a bitter war that shows no signs of ending anytime soon, will likely fuel new calls for a ceasefire from Israeli protesters. Furthermore, it took place at a time when the government is facing widespread outrage over exemptions from military service for ultra-Orthodox youth.

Israel launched an air and ground invasion of Gaza in response to a cross-border attack by Hamas and other militants on October 7, in which some 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken hostage. The Israeli offensive has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to local health authorities, who do not distinguish between civilians and combatants. It has also triggered a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where more than 80 percent of the population has been displaced and Israeli restrictions and continued fighting have hampered efforts to deliver humanitarian aid, leading to widespread hunger.

Saturday’s explosion took place in Rafah, a southern city that Israel has identified as the last major Hamas stronghold. Israel sent ground troops to the city in early May and has not indicated when the operation will end.

“They knew they would have to sacrifice their lives, but they did it so we could live in this country. I greet you and hug your families,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz in a message on X, formerly Twitter.

In January, 21 Israeli soldiers were killed in a single attack by Palestinian militants in Gaza.

President Joe Biden earlier this month unveiled a new ceasefire proposal that seeks the release of the approximately 120 hostages remaining in Gaza and an end to the fighting. Although the international community has widely supported the plan, both Israel and Hamas have expressed misgivings. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirms that he will not stop the war until he achieves the double objective of destroying the military and government capacity of Hamas.

The ongoing war has divided Israeli public opinion, and tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets every Saturday night to call on the government to reach a deal to return the hostages home. The Israeli government has already presumed dead more than 40 of the hostages held by Hamas, and authorities fear the number will rise the longer they remain in captivity.

More protests were planned for Saturday.

The deadly explosion also happened days after Netanyahu’s coalition voted to extend controversial exemptions from mandatory military service granted to ultra-Orthodox men.

Although the vote was only formal, it caused a stir at a time when Israel continues to fight Hamas militants in Gaza and Hezbollah militants along the country’s northern border with Lebanon, and the death toll continues. increasing. More than 600 soldiers have been killed in fighting since Oct. 7, according to the military.

Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered an end to government subsidies to ultra-Orthodox men who do not serve in the military. But Netanyahu’s government, which includes politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties, has found ways to keep money flowing to religious institutions.

The government is still under orders to pass a new bill.

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