Dec. 13: Palestinian resistance fighters ambushed Israeli troops in a dense Gaza City neighborhood, killing at least nine of them, media reported Wednesday, as Hamas put up stiff resistance in areas that Israel has isolated and pounded with airstrikes for over nine weeks, an AP report by Najib Jobain, Samy Magdy and Melanie Lidman said on Wednesday.
According to the AP report, army Radio said troops who were searching a cluster of buildings in Shijaiyah on Tuesday lost communication with four soldiers who had come under fire, sparking fears of a possible abduction. When the other soldiers launched a rescue operation, they were ambushed with heavy gunfire and explosives.
The report further said that among the nine dead were Col. Itzhak Ben Basat, 44, the most senior officer to have been killed in the ground operation, and Lt. Col. Tomer Grinberg, a battalion commander.
The report mentioned military confirming the deaths and that several Israeli media outlets carried similar accounts of the battle.
More than six weeks after Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza’s north, ground troops are still locked in heavy combat with Palestinian fighters in and around Gaza City. Clashes raged overnight and into Wednesday in multiple areas, with especially heavy fighting in Shijaiyah, a dense neighborhood that was also the scene of a major battle during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the report maintained.
The Israeli air and ground offensive has resulted in the deaths of over 18,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, since October 7. Nearly 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have been forced to flee their homes, and much of the territory’s north resembles a moonscape, the AP report further said.