14 Israeli soldiers killed this weekend in Gaza

14 Israeli soldiers killed this weekend in Gaza

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Fourteen Israeli soldiers were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip over the weekend, marking some of the bloodiest days in Israel’s fight against Hamas, the Associated Press reported.

The 14 soldiers were killed in central and southern Gaza over the weekend, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Sunday, the AP reported. The Israeli Army Radio reportedly said four soldiers were killed when their car was hit by an anti-tank missile, while others were killed in separate fighting incidents.

Another solider was killed in northern Israel following an attack from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to the AP.

The weekend deaths bring the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in the military’s ground offensive in Gaza to 153, the AP reported.

Speaking to the Israeli government on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “this is a difficult morning, after a very difficult day of fighting in Gaza.”

Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the family members of the fallen soldiers and reiterated Israeli forces have “eliminated thousands of terrorists.”

“We are continuing with full force, until the end, until victory, until we achieve all our goals,” Netanyahu said. “The destruction of Hamas, the return of our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never again constitute a threat to the State of Israel.”

Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and its military capabilities following the militant group’s Oct. 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people in Israel, including hundreds of civilians.

The country immediately launched a massive retaliatory campaign in Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which has left an estimated 20,000 civilians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The Health Ministry on Sunday said 166 were killed in Gaza in the past day, according to the AP.

While the U.S. has reiterated its support of Israel’s right to defend itself, the Biden administration in recent weeks has upped its calls for Israeli’s military to minimize civilian deaths.

President Biden on Saturday said he had a “long talk” with Netanyahu, empathizing he did not ask for a cease-fire, despite mounting pressure from the international community.

Eight countries joined Israel and the U.S. in a U.N. vote last week, voting against a cease-fire resolution, while the U.S. abstained on a U.N. Security Council vote on Friday on Gaza aid after negotiating for a watered-down measure.

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