newsIsrael at War

Four IDF soldiers die in Gaza tunnel ambush

Military death toll rises to 604 as the war enters its sixth month • IDF destroys Hamas attack tunnels.

Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Four Israel Defense Forces commandos were killed in action in southern Gaza on Saturday, the IDF announced on Sunday. Terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Khan Yunis and ambushed the soldiers at close range, the army said.

The attack raised the military’s death toll to 604 on all fronts since the war started six months ago.

The soldiers were identified as Capt. Ido Baruch, 21, from Tel Mond; Sgt. Amitai Even Shoshan, 20, from Moshav Azri’el; Sgt. Ilai Zair, 20, from Kedar; and Sgt. Reef Harush, 20, from Kibbutz Ramat David.

Their deaths bring the number of soldiers slain since the start of Israeli ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 to 260.

Three tunnels destroyed

The IDF said on Saturday that it had destroyed three Hamas attack tunnels in the Khan Yunis area, some of which reached into Israeli territory. The tunnels had been under intelligence and technological surveillance for several years, according to the military.

The mapping and demolition operation was carried out by the Southern Command’s Engineering Array, the Gaza Division, the 98th Division and the Combat Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit.

Two of the tunnels were discovered around 10 years ago, including one that was hit in an airstrike in 2021 during “Operation Guardian of the Walls.” At the start of the current war, the tunnel was struck at several points and in recent weeks it was destroyed by IDF engineers.

The other tunnel uncovered in 2014 crossed into Israeli territory and was destroyed at that time. Hamas did not restore that section of the tunnel, and in recent weeks another section of the tunnel, deep inside the Gaza Strip, was destroyed.

The third tunnel destroyed in recent weeks was first identified in 2019, before the construction of an underground barrier completed in 2021, with one branch crossing a few hundred meters into Israeli territory.

Some Israeli media reports highlighted that the IDF had claimed for years that there were no tunnels from Gaza penetrating Israeli territory since the completion of the underground barrier.

“[This tunnel] has since been under full operational and intelligence control by the IDF. In this branch of the tunnel, IDF soldiers placed traps and sensors for the IDF to use if needed, as part of the IDF’s activity against the Hamas terrorist organization’s underground network of tunnels,” the army said.

The tunnel was struck several times during the current war, along with actions that neutralized the branch crossing into Israeli territory, according to the army. The IDF clarified that the branch was not used during Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion and has been controlled with surveillance and fire throughout the war.

Updated war data

The IDF updated its data on Sunday as of March 31, including the number of terrorists killed and targets attacked.

Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Some 32,000 targets have been attacked from the air, about 4,250 terrorist infrastructure sites were destroyed and some 3,250 launchers and rockets have been destroyed or captured, according to the data. In addition, more than 3,600 Hamas sites were discovered.

Around 9,100 rockets have crossed into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip since the start of the war.

More than 12,000 terrorists were killed in the Gaza Strip, including five Hamas brigade commanders, more than 20 battalion commanders and over 100 company commanders.

Moreover, the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504 has interrogated some 4,600 suspects in Gaza since the start of the war.

About 300,000 reservists have been called up since the start of the war, with men making up around 83% of the force and women around 17%. About 45% are between the ages of 20 and 29, around 32% between the ages of 30 and 39, around 15% between the ages of 40 and 49, about 6% between 50 and 59 and around 2% between 60 and 69.

There have been approximately 2,360 vehicular evacuations of wounded IDF personnel from the Strip and more than 1,300 helicopter evacuations

Forty-one soldiers were killed by friendly fire or other military-related accidents. A total of 3,193 soldiers have been wounded since Oct. 7, including 1,552 in the Gaza Strip.

Around 3,000 aid packages have been airdropped to Gaza by the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Jordanian Air Force in around 50 drops, and there are six active field hospitals there, set up by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, all facilitated by the IDF.

Approximately 369,990 tons of aid and 19,776 trucks have been inspected at the Nitzana and Kerem Shalom crossings. A total of 257,530 tons of food in 12,197 trucks have entered the Strip since the start of the war. Tens of thousands of tons of shelter and medical equipment, water and other aid have also entered, as well as fuel and cooking gas.

More than 17 million recorded calls have been sent to Gaza residents warning them to evacuate, as well as over 15.5 million evacuation notices and some 9.3 million proclamations.

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