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21 Israeli soldiers killed in deadliest attack since Oct. 7, Netanyahu vows 'absolute victory'
Photo by JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

21 Israeli soldiers killed in deadliest attack since Oct. 7, Netanyahu vows 'absolute victory'

Palestinian militants carried out the deadliest attack against Israel since October 7, when Hamas slaughtered 1,200 Israelis and abducted 240 more. The latest attack killed 21 soldiers, according to the Associated Press.

The Israeli military said the soldiers were setting up explosives to take down two buildings in central Gaza when a Palestinian militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby. The blast from the rocket ignited the explosives inside the two buildings, causing the buildings to collapse on top of the soldiers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow at the loss of the soldiers, noting that the day had been one of the most difficult since the war began. But he went on to say that the Jewish state would not stop until it had claimed victory in the region.

Fox News Digital reported that 217 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the offensive began in late October. Three soldiers were also killed on Monday in a separate event.

However, some have speculated that a potential ceasefire is now out of reach, as Netanyahu vowed to push forward with the war until "absolute victory."

Just hours after the attack, the Israeli military announced that it had surrounded the city of Khan Younis — Gaza's second-largest city. While the accomplishment marked a major military advance for the Jewish state, it is not clear how much closer Israel is to destroying Hamas. Israel has also had to grapple to free Israeli hostages that were taken back to Gaza on October 7.

The Times of Israel reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi sent out a video statement on the deaths of the soldiers, saying: "We share in the grief of their families for the heavy loss, and know that the pain is too great to bear."

“If this is any comfort, I would like the families to know, they fell in battle near the border fence, during a defense operation in the buffer zone between the Israeli communities and Gaza. This is a task whose entire purpose is to create the security conditions for the safe return of the residents of [the Gaza border communities] to their homes,” he added.

“To that end, we went to war, which began with a cruel attempt to stop life, and we are more determined than ever to bring life back here, even more strongly."

“We, as always, will investigate the incident in depth and learn the lessons while fighting, so that such an incident will not happen again."

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