IDF says 21 soldiers killed when two buildings collapsed, tank hit in central Gaza

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

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says a total of 21 soldiers were killed in the incident yesterday in central Gaza, close to the border community of Kissufim.

He says that troops were operating in an area around 600 meters from the border, destroying structures and Hamas sites, as part of the army’s efforts to establish a buffer zone to allow residents of Israeli border communities to return to their homes.

“As far as we know, at around 4 p.m., an RPG was fired by terrorists at a tank securing the forces, and simultaneously, an explosion occurred at two two-story buildings. The buildings collapsed due to this explosion, while most of the forces were inside and near them,” he says.

Hagari says the explosion was likely a result of mines planted by troops to demolish the buildings, but the cause of the detonation was still under investigation.

For several hours rescue forces worked to extract the casualties from the collapsed buildings.

The IDF has already announced the deaths of 10 soldiers. Hagari says the other 11 families have been notified, and the military will release their names soon.

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