Several Israeli soldiers were killed in north Gaza’s Shujaiya neighborhood late on 12 December in an ambush laid by Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades.
Israeli media outlet the Times of Israel referred to the ambush as “one of the deadliest single encounters since troops pushed into the Strip.”
Among the dead are several senior Israeli army officers, including Col. Itzhak Ben Basat, head of the Golani Brigade’s commander’s team, and Tomer Grinberg, the commander of the Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion
According to the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz, nine were killed in the Shujaiya ambush, and another was killed in a separate battle in north Gaza.
Haaretz referred to the Shujaiya attack as a “coordinated ambush.”
“As the soldiers approached the building they were fired upon, gunfire erupted, followed by an explosive charge and grenades hurled at them,” the outlet wrote.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Hamas said that Israel’s admittance of the Shujaiya ambush “confirms the extent of the loss and failure of the leaders of the entity and its army in confronting the might of the resistance and the Qassam Brigades, who are fulfilling their promise to make Gaza a cemetery for the invaders.”
Israel’s soldiers “are killed and injured every day by the dozens, and you have no choice but to withdraw from Gaza. The longer you stay here, the greater the bill of your deaths and losses will be,” the statement added.
The ambush comes as Israeli forces continue to operate in north Gaza, despite the focus of the ground invasion having shifted to the south, where Khan Yunis – the second largest city in Gaza – lies.
The Qassam Brigades announced several other operations on Wednesday, which they say resulted in numerous Israeli deaths and injuries in central and south Gaza.
“The Mujahideen of the Qassam Brigades and the Quds Brigades in the central Gaza Strip were able to entrap a Zionist force of 15 soldiers into a tight ambush, engage them from point zero, deal with them with appropriate weapons, and leave them dead and wounded,” the Qassam Brigades media channel said on 13 December.
“After that, the Qassam and Quds Brigades artillery bombarded the area with heavy-caliber mortar shells.”
Qassam Brigades media has also announced attacks on eight Israeli Merkava tanks since Wednesday morning.
The deadly Shujaiya ambush comes as skepticism continues to surround the official number of Israeli deaths in Gaza.
Since expanding limited ground operations into a full-scale assault in late October, Tel Aviv has admitted to the deaths of only 115 soldiers in Gaza, casting doubt on whether the actual death toll is being kept secret, as the Qassam Brigades have documented daily targeting of Israeli vehicles and squadrons since the ground invasion began.
An 11 December report by Haaretz reveals that Israel has been significantly underreporting soldier casualties.
“We are now going through a period. Every hour, there is a funeral, and every hour and a half, there is a funeral. Only in the Mount Herzl cemetery did we bury 50 soldiers in 48 hours,” the director of Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, David Oren Baruch, revealed last month.
Source: The Cradle