Monday was the deadliest day for the Israeli army since the start of its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on October 27. The Israeli army announced that it had lost, in a single day, 24 men in combat in the Palestinian enclave, including 21 reservists, on Tuesday January 23.

The reservists all fell during a single attack carried out on Monday by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007. More than 200 Israeli soldiers killed since October 27 had reached Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday the opening of an investigation into this “disaster”. “We must learn all the lessons and do everything to preserve the lives of our fighters,” added the latter in a press release, referring to “one of the hardest days” since the outbreak of the war.

Daniel Hagari, army spokesperson, reported a strike by RPG rocket launcher against a tank, positioned near two two-story buildings that the army wanted to raze. “The forces [Israeli Defense – the name given to the Israeli army] were working to destroy terrorist buildings and infrastructure (…), 600 meters from the border” between Gaza and Israel, the officer explained during a a televised press briefing.

“War has a heavy price.”

“Around 4 p.m., an RPG rocket was reportedly fired by terrorists at a tank providing security to the force,” he continued. “At the same time,” an explosion blew away both buildings, “which collapsed in an instant, while most of the force was still inside or nearby.” The buildings had been heavily mined for destruction. It was not clear Tuesday why they exploded earlier than expected.

The army published the identities of the reservists, one by one, on its website earlier today. “We worked to locate the victims until the last hours,” said the officer, mentioning the difficulty of extracting the bodies, buried under the rubble. “War has a heavy, even very heavy, price. Our reservists sacrificed what was most dear to them so that we could all live here safely,” he added.

The war was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israeli soil, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an Agence France-Presse tally from official Israeli data.

Israel has vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and launched a military operation that has so far killed 25,490 Palestinians, the vast majority women and children, according to the latest report from the Health Ministry controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement.