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Escalating Violence As Israel-Hamas War Enters 4th Day; 18 Israeli Soldiers Killed Over Weekend

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Dec 25, 2023

Israel’s military assault on Gaza has entered its 4th day, with both sides exchanging rocket fire and clashing in fierce urban combat. This weekend saw the deadliest fighting yet, with 18 Israeli soldiers killed – bringing the total Israeli death toll to 156 troops. Hamas claims the losses are even higher. Global leaders are urgently calling for calm, but Israeli PM Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive.

Background

Tensions between Israel and Hamas reignited in early December after months of relative calm. A series of violent incidents led to tit-for-tat strikes and eventually a full Israeli ground invasion of Gaza on December 21st.

The escalation began with Israeli raids in the West Bank after a spate of attacks in Israeli cities. This prompted Hamas rocket fire, which then triggered Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. A misfired rocket killed a family of 6 inside Gaza on December 19th, followed by mass Israeli bombardment of Hamas sites in a major escalation.

On December 21st, Israel launched a large ground offensive into Gaza with the stated aim of dealing a decisive blow to Hamas. But the Islamist group has put up fierce resistance in dense urban terrain.

Fiercest Fighting Yet Over Weekend

This weekend saw some of the most intense combat so far, resulting in the deaths of 18 Israeli soldiers on Saturday and Sunday.

8 Israeli troops were killed on Saturday, December 23rd, during clashes in neighborhoods of South and Central Gaza City. Five more were announced killed later in the day, some in heavy battles over Hamas strongholds like the Shati refugee camp.

On Sunday December 24th, the toll grew higher with 5 more soldier deaths announced in the morning. The IDF later confirmed the deaths of another 10 troops throughout the day – 8 killed in a single incident.

This brings the total death toll among Israeli forces to 156 killed since the start of ground operations on December 21st. Over 70 of these deaths came this weekend alone as Hamas employs guerrilla tactics inside Gaza’s cities and refugee camps.

Netanyahu Defiant Despite Mounting Losses

The weekend’s bloody fighting has led to growing criticism of PM Netanyahu’s conduct of the war. But he has remained defiant, insisting that Israel will pay any price to subdue Hamas.

After the deaths of 14 more troops were announced Sunday morning, Netanyahu conceded that Israel was “paying a heavy price” but said the offensive would continue with “determination and patience.” He stated that the campaign’s objectives would be achieved “no matter how long it takes.”

With over 150 Israeli soldiers now killed and the offensive in its 4th day, pressure is mounting on Netanyahu both domestically and internationally.

Global Calls For Restraint As Civilian Toll Mounts

The fighting has taken a harsh toll on civilians, prompting urgent international calls for calm.

Gaza’s Health Ministry reports that over 200 Palestinian civilians have been killed since the start of Israel’s operation. UN officials warn that continued clashes in populated areas could result in a much heavier civilian death toll.

The US, Egypt, and European leaders have all called for an immediate ceasefire and return to negotiations. But so far these calls have been rejected by both Netanyahu and Hamas, who accuse each other of violating previous truce deals.

Inside Israel, Netanyahu is facing some dissent even from his nationalist coalition partners. But publicly he has insisted that calls for de-escalation would be futile “as long as Hamas continues its aggression.”

What Happens Next?

With both sides refusing to back down, the Israel-Hamas war threatens to become a protracted and bloody conflict in the Gaza strip’s dense urban battlefield.

Israeli forces may try to push deeper into Gaza City and refugee camps to root out Hamas compounds and tunnels. But they will face fierce Hamas resistance and likely sustain more casualties.

Hamas currently shows no signs of halting its rocket fire into Israeli civilian areas. It may also employ more guerrilla tactics and possible suicide bombings as clashes intensify.

If the crisis continues to escalate, pressure for a ceasefire may become overwhelming. But PM Netanyahu insists the offensive will continue until subduing Hamas. His government is under rising domestic criticism, with even some hardline allies questioning the mounting death toll.

Without an imminent truce, the Israel-Hamas war threatens to unleash further death and destruction, with civilians paying the highest price.

Date Key Events
Dec 8-15 Spate of attacks in Israel; tit-for-tat Israeli raids and Hamas rocket fire
Dec 19 Errant Hamas rocket kills Gaza family of 6; Israel launches major strikes
Dec 21 Israel invades Gaza with ground troops to subdue Hamas
Dec 23 8 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza fighting
Dec 24 14 more Israeli soldier deaths; Netanyahu vows to continue offensive despite criticism
Dec 25 Total Israeli death toll reaches 156 troops
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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