First Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza Invasion

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On Tuesday, two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers were killed while fighting in Gaza, the first fatal casualties the IDF has taken in the invasion of the Hamas-held territory.

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The Israel Defense Forces say that two Israeli soldiers were killed during fighting on Tuesday, the first such casualties in Gaza since Israel began its ground operations there.

Until this week, Israel had largely relied on airstrikes and artillery to retaliate against Hamas’ massacre in Israel on October 7. The IDF began expanded ground operations this week, however, and troops are now confronted with the deadly task of clearing out Hamas tunnels and other fortified positions.

The two deceased soldiers were both 20 years old. At least two other Israeli soldiers were wounded in the same fighting.

Israeli leaders have vowed to destroy Hamas in Gaza entirely. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a cease-fire in a speech on Monday.

In order to fulfill the stated goal of eliminating Hamas as an organization in Gaza, it’s important to note that the Israel Defense Forces will be required to conduct offensive operations in built-up urban areas, which are among the most difficult offensive operations any military organization can undertake, while simultaneously offering advantages to the defenders. In what appears to be a preparation for this, Israel Defense Forces tanks have been fitted with “cope cages,” designed to prevent objects dropped from overhead from landing on a tank’s thin overhead armor.

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Difficulties in attacking through urban areas are several. Modern main battle tanks, such as the Merkava that is still standard in the IDF, are designed primarily to fight other tanks in open country, and secondarily to provide support for infantry. In urban areas, armor depends on infantry to screen the immediate area to prevent attacks on the armor by such expediences as improvised explosives or even an RPG warhead dropped from above. Operations of this nature must be carefully planned and tightly coordinated, with solid and secure communications between all units.

Israel can expect to take significant casualties in this operation. Even so, Israel has refused all calls for any kind of cease-fire.

“Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen,” Netanyahu said. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war. A war for our common future,” he continued. “Today we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory. I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will back this fight.” 

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The October 7th atrocities were by far the worst attack Israel has suffered since 1948. It’s reasonable to expect that Israel will take all necessary actions to ensure that such an attack can never happen again, and all indications are that the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces are prepared to do precisely that.

Read more recent RedState coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict at the links below.

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