update deskIsrael at War

Three IDF soldiers killed during Beit Hanoun operation

Israeli forces are conducting a targeted raid to root out the remaining Hamas terrorists there • Rafah activities expanded to the Yavne refugee camp, according to Palestinian reports.

Israeli soldiers during operational activity in Rafah, southern Gaza, on May 21, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli soldiers during operational activity in Rafah, southern Gaza, on May 21, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in action on Wednesday during a targeted raid in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza to root out the remaining Hamas terrorists entrenched there.

The troops, who fell in two separate incidents, were identified as Staff Sgt. Eliyahau Haim Emsallem, 21, from Ra’anana; Chief Sgt. First Class Gideon Chay DeRowe, 33, from Tel Aviv; and Cpt. Israel Yudkin, 22, from Kfar Chabad.

Their deaths bring the total number of deaths in Gaza since the start of the ground invasion on Oct. 27 to 282 and to 634 on all fronts since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

The IDF has been conducting the operation in Beit Hanoun for several days, eliminating terrorists, destroying terrorist infrastructure and underground infrastructure. An anti-tank launch post, a military compound and sniper posts are among the targets struck in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force.

“Moreover, IDF troops identified a terrorist opening fire at the troops from a nearby military compound and directed an IAF aircraft that targeted and eliminated the terrorist upon identification. Shortly afterward, an additional terrorist was identified opening fire at IDF troops from the same compound. The troops directed a fighter jet that struck the compound and eliminated the terrorist,” the IDF said.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces are expanding the campaign in Rafah in southern Gaza, which began weeks ago in the eastern section of the last Hamas bastion.

The IDF said on Thursday morning that forces were operating in the Brazil and Shaboura areas of Rafah, locating a ready-to-fire rocket launcher, dismantling several terror tunnel shafts and launchers, and killing several terrorists in close-quarters combat.

“Based on the direction of IDF troops, IAF aircraft eliminated three terrorists belonging to a mortar squad, who fired mortar shells at IDF troops in the area of Rafah,” the army added.

According to Palestinian reports, the IDF for the first time on Thursday morning advanced to the area of the Yavne refugee camp, which is the westernmost point of the operation so far.

The Palestinian Shehab News Agency reported on an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists entrenched there.

The IDF also said that forces are continuing operational activities in Jabalia in north Gaza, in cooperation with the IAF targeting several Hamas terrorists during strikes on military compounds used for weapons storage and locating many weapons and military equipment.

In central Gaza, troops continue anti-terror activities, eliminating terrorists “including the head of a terror squad who operated from within a hideout residence, two terrorists who opened fire at IDF troops, and a terrorist who invaded into Israel on Oct. 7.”

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