Bibi unfazed by IDF deaths
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday doubled down on the war in Gaza after two dozen IDF reservists were killed in the deadliest single day for Israeli forces since Israel’s ground invasion of the enclave began.
At least 21 of the dead were reportedly laying explosives in a building near the Gaza-Israel border when a Hamas-launched RPG struck a nearby Israeli tank, detonating the charges. The operation was part of an Israeli plan to create a 600-meter-wide “buffer” zone on the Gaza side of the border, a plan that entails destroying Palestinian infrastructure in the area.
The deaths bring the toll for the IDF to 221 since the ground invasion began. Netanyahu reiterated his pledge to reach “absolute victory” over Hamas, while Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levyreiterated that removing Hamas and securing the return of the remaining Oct. 7 hostages are the only way to end the fighting.
Is this turning into a quagmire? Recently leaked US intelligence reports suggest as many as 80% of Hamas fighters are still alive, despite an Israeli campaign that Gaza authorities say has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, displaced more than 80% of Gaza’s people, and created conditions for a famine.
While Israeli society has reportedly been largely shielded from the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, a rising death toll among IDF reservists could add momentum to already-growing calls — both from the streets and even within Bibi’s war cabinet — for Netanyahu to emphasize the return of the hostages, more than 100 of whom are believed to remain in Hamas captivity.