IDF releases names of five soldiers killed in south Gaza blast yesterday, two reservists slain in battle in north of Strip

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Seven of the soldiers killed in fighting in Gaza on June 15, 2024. From left, top row: Sgt. Itay Amar, Sgt. Stanislav Kostarev, Sgt. Or Blumovitz, Sgt. Oz Yeshaya Gruber, 
Bottom row: Sgt. Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist, Cpt. (res.) Eitan Koplovich, Warrant Officer (res.) Elon Weiss. (Courtesy)
Seven of the soldiers killed in fighting in Gaza on June 15, 2024. From left, top row: Sgt. Itay Amar, Sgt. Stanislav Kostarev, Sgt. Or Blumovitz, Sgt. Oz Yeshaya Gruber, Bottom row: Sgt. Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist, Cpt. (res.) Eitan Koplovich, Warrant Officer (res.) Elon Weiss. (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces has released the names of five of the eight Israeli soldiers who were killed in a blast in southern the Gaza Strip’s Rafah yesterday morning, in what marked the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces in the enclave since January.

The slain soldiers are named as:

Sgt. Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist, 21, from Beit Shemesh

Sgt. Itay Amar, 19, from Kochav Yair

Staff Sgt. Stanislav Kostarev, 21, from Ashdod

Staff Sgt. Orr Blumovitz, 20, from Pardes Hanna-Karkur

Staff Sgt. Oz Yeshaya Gruber, 20, from Tal Menashe

According to an initial IDF probe, the troops, all of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion, were all killed inside a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) that came under attack by an explosive device or an anti-tank missile. There were no survivors.

Yesterday, the IDF named one of the eight troops: Cpt. Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion, from Beit Jann.

The names of the final two soldiers are due to be released later today.

The IDF also announces the deaths of two soldiers killed in fighting in northern Gaza over the weekend:

Cpt. (res.) Eitan Koplovich, 28, from Jerusalem.

Warrant Officer (res.) Elon Weiss, 49, from Psagot.

Both had served in the 8th Reserve Armored Brigade’s 129th Battalion.

According to an initial IDF probe, the two were killed by an explosive device detonated against their tank.

Another two soldiers in the tank were seriously wounded in the same incident.

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