'it is crucial that we stand united' says Gantz after soldiers killed

Leaders react to death of 21 in Gaza explosion in worst incident since war begins; Hezog says every name shatters family, PM says in name of the fallen, fight will continue until victory achieved

Yael Ciechanover, Yoav Zitun, Itamar Eichner, Moran Azulay, Sivan Hilaie|
"On this tremendously challenging morning, we find ourselves adding the names of our bravest sons - the epitome of selflessness - to the monument of heroism, in the most righteous of wars" President Isaac Herzog conveyed on Tuesday morning, following the authorized disclosure that 21 reservists had tragically perished in the devastating incident within the central Gaza Strip.
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"Every name represents a shattered family, whose world has been torn apart by loss. We hold these families close to our hearts, sharing their sorrow and pain, yet also feeling immense pride in the heroism displayed by this generation. They embraced their mission with unwavering determination, facing the forces of evil, and remained steadfast in their commitment to our shared goal and unwavering love for our people and homeland. On behalf of the entire nation, I extend my condolences to the grieving families and pray for the recovery of the wounded. Even in the face of this somber and challenging morning, we stand united in strength, knowing that together we will emerge victorious," added Herzog.
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אלקנה יהודה ספז, יובל לופס, סרגיי גונטמכר, רפאל אליאס מושיוף, הדר קפלוק, סדריק גרין, יואב לוי, ניקולס ברגר, מתן לזר, ברק חיים בן ואליד
אלקנה יהודה ספז, יובל לופס, סרגיי גונטמכר, רפאל אליאס מושיוף, הדר קפלוק, סדריק גרין, יואב לוי, ניקולס ברגר, מתן לזר, ברק חיים בן ואליד
Nine of the fallen troops whose names have been disclosed
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday was "the most challenging days since the onset of the war." He conveyed his condolences and offered words of encouragement to the grieving families, recognizing that "their lives will be forever altered." Emphasizing the importance of learning from the incident, he stated, "The IDF has initiated an investigation into this disaster. It is crucial that we extract the necessary lessons and take every measure to safeguard the lives of our soldiers. In the name of our heroes and for the preservation of our lives, we will continue our fight until achieving complete victory."
In the official statement this morning by IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, he addressed the reservists, specifically mentioning the 21 who tragically lost their lives in the devastating incident in the central Gaza Strip. He stated, "Even in the face of this painful and challenging event, the reservists exhibit immense bravery and unwavering dedication in this war. They are driven by motivation and a firm belief in the righteousness of the cause, remaining resolute in their commitment to contribute further," he said.
"We stand by them during these challenging moments. We understand that rumors may circulate, but we prioritize sharing verified information, ensuring that families are updated first." In a televised address Hagari urged responsible behavior, emphasizing that "behind each name are families enduring the most arduous times - I implore you to act responsibly and prevent any further contribution to their suffering."
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also expressed condolences to the fallen soldiers, stating, "On this challenging and sorrowful morning, as news of loss reaches countless homes in Israel, our thoughts are with the grieving families during this incredibly difficult time. This war holds immense significance as it will shape the future of Israel for generations to come - the sacrifice of these brave warriors is essential in achieving the war's objectives. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this campaign, and I offer my best wishes for a swift recovery to the injured."
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also holds a position in the Ministry of Defense, expressed profound grief over the news, stating, "The news is utterly heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences go out to the families of these heroes. The entire nation of Israel stands by you, united in our sorrow and anguish. We are committed to ensuring that the sacrifice of these young men will not be in vain. They serve as a guiding light, illuminating the path for us to continue this just campaign of the Israeli people, until we triumph over the forces of evil, until we dispel the darkness. May the memory of the fallen be forever cherished and blessed."
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Scene of the disaster marked in red
Scene of the disaster marked in red
Scene of the disaster marked in red
Minister and member of the War Cabinet Benny Gantz acknowledged the profound impact of this horrific occurrence, stating, "This morning brings great sorrow to the entire nation of Israel as we learn of the devastating disaster that occurred yesterday. I want to extend my deepest condolences to the grieving families and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. In this difficult time, it is crucial that we stand united, recognizing the heavy price we must pay for a just war and the noble objective for which our heroes have fallen - securing our future, bringing our sons and daughters home, and ensuring victory for Israel. Especially today, we are sending reinforcements to all IDF soldiers and commanders, reaffirming our unwavering support for their mission. We are all standing behind you."
Opposition Chair Yair Lapid expressed his profound grief in response to the tragedy, stating, "This morning is incredibly difficult as we receive the heartbreaking news of the loss of 21 IDF reserve soldiers - true heroes of Israel, individuals who loved their land and dedicated themselves to its defense, and who tragically fell in the Gaza Strip. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of these brave fighters. The entire nation of Israel stands alongside you during this challenging time. May their souls rest in eternal peace."
Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir said: "This morning is filled with immense pain and sadness, my heart is shattered. I extend my condolences and embrace the grieving families. Now, more than ever, it is clear that we must not halt the war, we must not diminish our fight. We must relentlessly continue to subdue, crush, and defeat the Nazi-like enemy in Gaza with our full strength. The blood of our finest soldiers, our brave fighters, was not shed in vain. I hope that we will be worthy of their sacrifice and fulfill their unwavering determination, written in their blood - to crush and dismantle Hamas, and to bring back all the hostages. May they rest in peace."
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Bloomberg News on Sunday
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Bloomberg News on Sunday
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to draw lessons from the disaster
(Photo: Screenshot)
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana expressed his condolences on behalf of the Knesset, stating, "This morning brings immense pain as the people of Israel wake up to the devastating news of the loss of many brave warriors, the true heroes of Israel, who dedicated themselves to defending our homeland. On behalf of the Knesset, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of the fallen. Each one of them represents a world filled with families, hopes, and dreams that were tragically cut short. We all pray for a swift recovery and complete healing, both physically and mentally, for the wounded. In honor of the fallen, the injured, and the abducted, we must continue to stand united, side by side, shoulder to shoulder."

What happened?

A preliminary investigation into the disaster unveils that a joint task force, made up of infantry, engineering and armored corps, conducting a defensive operation in the Kissufim quadrant in central Gaza arrived on Monday morning to clear a path for constructing a partition line, preparing for a post-war stay. While scouring, they came across 10 duplexes about 0.3 miles from the border with Israel, which they were instructed to raze.
While Engineering Corps troops were preparing to place the explosives, guarded by Infantry and Armored Corps troops, at around 16:00, at least one terrorist managed to get in close proximity to the forces, firing an RPG at an Israeli tank, while another emerged from a nearby tunnel, firing another RPG at the base of the structure, causing it to collapse on the troops inside.
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