Israel’s Black Day: 24 Soldiers Killed

Israel Soldier Funeral

Israel is in mourning. It’s a catastrophic, devastating, painful day for the country – a black Monday filled with trepidation and fear.

The day of 23 January 2024 will be printed on the Israeli psyche as a bloody event for decades to come and a turning point in its deadly conflict with the Palestinians of Gaza and in which it’s trying to erase their national identity but with little success.

The end result is the killing of 24 of its soldiers and officers in Gaza over a 24-hour period which is stark and harrowing. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says this is the worst day Israel has experienced since it waged its deadly war on the Gaza Strip after 7 October.

Twenty-one of these 24 soldiers were killed in the area near the Al Maghazi Camp to the east of the enclave, and specifically, around 600 meters after the siege border that divides the strip from Israel.  


It seems the Israeli soldiers who are now fighting in the center of Gaza around Dier Al Balah and the camps of Nuseirat and Al Breij – were in the middle of a booby-trap operation that blew up in their faces on a massive scale and heard one kilometer away.  The soldiers had been busy wiretapping two houses with explosives and TNT to blow them up for senseless reasons.  It is suggested the objective had been to clear up the area as a prelude to creating a military buffer zone Israel wants to create in the east and north of the Gaza Strip to bolster its own security.

Hamas, Palestinian resistance and the Izz Al Din Al Qassam operatives got to hear of what the Israeli soldiers were up to through intelligence gathering and took the initiative by launching RBG missiles on the two houses and thus resulted in the deaths of the soldiers while they were busy doing the wiring.

A lot of question so far continue to remain unanswered and that is why the Israeli army has already launched an official investigation to ascertain what happened and how the soldiers were killed. This being not the first time Israeli soldiers were killed in mysterious circumstances.

And it is bearing in mind the ground soldiers were supposed to be protected by a tank stationed outside the buildings. They may have been actually hit by Palestinian rocket launchers that triggered a chain-reaction and killed the soldiers in total.

Another theory may lie in the fact that these ground troops frequently call for help from the air and thus it could have been Israeli warplanes that may either bombed the tank and/or the building that already had waiting bombs to go off and this explains the large explosions heard in the surrounding areas.

This theory led to another which suggests that 1 in 5 soldiers killed in Gaza do so in friendly-fire attacks according to Israeli army figures which also form 17 percent of the number of killed.

According to Fayez Al Duwairi, military strategists and commentator for Al Jazeera, this is a high figure. First of all, he disputes the 17 percent number and says it logically should be 20 percent based on the 1 in 5 equation and the fact there is a prevailing Hannibal Directive in Israeli military strategy. It states it’s better to have an Israeli soldier killed rather than have him taken alive by the enemy.

Of course, this is not to say anything about the scores of injured that are feared to have resulted from the blasts. The Israeli army would only talk about the number of those killed with many saying they could be even higher.


The killing of the soldiers is likely to have major consequences for Israeli society and the military and political establishments with demands for much answers. These soldiers are not from the professional army but are only reservists who have families, homes and daily jobs to go to.

One of the questions likely to be asked therefore, is why put these soldiers in such positions that require technical expertise in bomb-making and wiring? They are too inexperienced for such work and as reservists should not have been there in the first place.

The Israeli war on Gaza is turning out to be a nightmare despite the mass bombing of the Palestinians, yet Netanyahu and his army seem to be blindfolded by the fact that they say we will continue till we get the job done and finish off Hamas but the problem is Izz Al Din operatives and Saraya Al Quds fighters of Islamic Jihad are nowhere to be found.

The Israeli army keeps saying “we are getting the job done” but the problem with that is there is no documentary evidence as those provided by the Palestinian organizations. Netanyahu says despite the heavy losses, the war on Gaza will continue.

The author, based in Amman, Jordan, writes on Middle East Affair


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