Eight Israeli soldiers killed as fighting continues in Rafah

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Eight Israeli soldiers were killed in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, according to the Israeli military, as forces continued operations in and around the city of Rafah. Airstrikes across Gaza killed at least 19 Palestinians.

Earlier, Hamas’s armed wing reported that fighters had ambushed an armored personnel carrier in the Tel Al-Sultan area, killing and wounding several Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces have been advancing in this region for weeks.

Israeli tanks pressed into Tel Al-Sultan, where shells landed in the coastal area that has become a refuge for thousands of displaced Palestinians. Despite mounting international calls for a ceasefire, an agreement to halt the conflict, now in its ninth month, remains elusive.

Israeli airstrikes on two houses in Gaza City suburbs killed at least 15 people, residents reported. Four more were killed in separate attacks in the south, according to medics.

The Israeli military announced it had captured significant quantities of weapons in Rafah, including those concealed in Hamas’s extensive tunnel network. It also reported that militants had fired five rockets from central Gaza on Friday, with two landing in open areas in Israel and three falling short in Gaza.

“This is a further example of the cynical exploitation of humanitarian infrastructure and the civilian population as human shields by terror organizations in the Gaza Strip for their terrorist attacks,” the Israeli military said.

Meanwhile, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, Al-Quds Brigades, stated that Israel could only secure the release of its hostages in Gaza by ending the war and withdrawing its forces. The statement was made in a video posted on Telegram.