Israeli military says nine more soldiers were killed inside Gaza as ground operation against Hamas continues

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The Israeli military reported additional casualties inside the Gaza Strip, the day after it said its first two soldiers were killed during its ground invasion against Hamas Tuesday morning, the first such casualties in Gaza since Israel began its ground operations there.

According to Fox News’ Trey Yingst, who is in Israel, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were hit by an anti-tank guided missile while operating in the northern part of the strip, leaving nine dead.

Israeli forces entered the second stage of their war with Hamas in what is expected to be a lengthy military operation. Until this week, Israel had largely relied on airstrikes and artillery to retaliate against Hamas’ massacre in Israel on Oct. 7.

Military officials have warned that the war will be long and difficult, potentially spanning months or longer.

IDF: HAMAS COMMANDER WHO ‘DIRECTED’ OCTOBER 7 TERROR ATTACK KILLED IN AIRSTRIKE

Israeli armored vehicles

Israeli armored vehicles gather near the border with Gaza before entering the Palestinian enclave on October 31, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.  (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The IDF began expanded ground operations this week and ground troops are now tasked with clearing out a complex network of Hamas tunnels and other fortified strongholds. IDF says it has attacked 11,000 targets in Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

“Combined forces of the IDF attacked many terrorist targets throughout the Gaza Strip during the night, including operational headquarters and squads of Hamas terrorists,” a translated statement from the IDF Wednesday read.

The two deceased soldiers were both 20 years old. At least two other Israeli soldiers were wounded in the same fighting. The ages of the newly nine deceased soldiers were not provided.

ISRAELI SOLDIERS REPORTED KILLED; FIRST IN GAZA SINCE GROUND INCURSION BEGAN

The IDF also killed a Hamas leader who was hiding in a refugee camp in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

“His name [was] Ibrahim Biari, and he was responsible, according to the Israelis, for a number of attacks,” including those on Oct. 7, Yingst reported.

A plume of smoke

A picture taken from Israel’s southern city of Sderot shows smoke rising during Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.  (FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are learning more about the strike that took place earlier today on the Jabalia refugee camp,” he said. “The Israelis say that fighter jets targeted the commander of Hamas’s central Jabalia battalion.”

The Israelis have repeatedly warned Palestinians to evacuate the camp in recent days, due to the presence of Hamas operatives there. Many were unable or chose not to do so, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, who has said thousands of civilians have died since Israel’s retaliatory strikes began after Hamas conducted a surprise terror attack on Israeli soil on Oct. 7.

UN AGENCY CALLS FOR CEASEFIRE IN ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR: ‘MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH FOR MILLIONS’ 

Israeli leaders have vowed to destroy Hamas in its entirety and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed calls for a cease-fire during a speech on Monday.

“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.

A tank, smoke

This picture taken on October 31, 2023 from a position near  Sderot along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel shows an Israeli tank rolling amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.  (YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“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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Secretary of State Antony Blinken will fly to Israel later this week.

As of Tuesday, as many as 9,900 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans.

Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano and Dana Karni contributed to this report.

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