Two soldiers were killed on Monday during fighting in Khan Younis: Sergeant First Class Adi Eldor, 21, from Haifa and Sergeant First Class (res.) Alon Kleinman, 21, from Tel Aviv who were killed by an anti-tank missile strike in West Khan Younis. Since the beginning of the war, 566 IDF soldiers have been killed, including 229 since the beginning of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip. Hours after the soldiers were killed, the IDF saved two hostages from Hamas captivity.
Another two soldiers were seriously injured in the fighting in the southern Gaza Strip, according to IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. "The soldiers were evacuated for medical treatment at the hospital and their families have been updated," according to the IDF.
Some 2,855 IDF soldiers have been injured since the beginning of the war, of which 1,326 have been injured since the beginning of the ground maneuver. Another 343 soldiers are still hospitalized in hospitals across the country, including 27 in serious condition.
Eldor was a classmate of Sergeant Amit Peled, who fell in battle against Hamas terrorists on October 7, and is the 12th graduate of the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa to fall in battle.
"We worried about him all the time in the four months of fighting, now we are no longer worried," his parents said. "He was a child who loved life, loved the world. He was a giving person and a people's person."
Eldor was nearing the end of his compulsory service when he was killed. "All his good friends are hurting with us. They are all combat soldiers and they are a wreck. This generation was looked down upon, but they are the salt of the earth. They are all in elite fighting units, all of his friends from the youth movement," the parents said. "They are a generation of doers. If you don't have children, you don't understand this. Other than Adi we have another son in a combat unite and our 16-year old daughter said she too wants a combat role in her service."
Adi was in Gaza for two months before he was given a 3-day leave two weeks ago.
"You worry about your kids, other people's kids, the country. It is indescribable," they said. "Adi was a role model for his siblings. now we must go on. You have to lift yourself up after this kind of thing," Rekefet, Adi's mom said.
Hours after the two soldiers fell, the IDF began the heroic operation in the heart of Rafah, in which Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, who were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7 and held by Hamas, were rescued safely. The IDF Spokesperson said: "Thanks to the heroism and courage of the soldiers who were killed, we are able to carry out such an operation. It is impossible to do such a thing without being inside the Gaza Strip. Thanks to those heroic fighters who sacrificed the most precious thing of all, we are able to reach operational moments that allowed the release of hostages."
The operation to free the hostages was carried out by the Shin Bet and IDF forces in cooperation with the Air Force, Shayetet 13, the 98th Brigade and the 7th Armored Division. The forces covertly arrived at the building in the heart of Rafah where the abductees were held on the second floor, broke into the building where the Hamas terrorists were hiding and rescued the hostages are safe. During the operation, which lasted about an hour, the ground forces were given air cover and additional coverings.