Israeli army says 8 soldiers killed in blast in Gaza’s Rafah


Jerusalem, June 16 (IANS) The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has announced that its eight soldiers were killed in a blast in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The soldiers were all killed inside a Namer combat engineering vehicle (CEV) on Saturday morning, Xinhua news agency reported, citing an initial investigation by the IDF.

The soldiers were moving in a convoy at about 5 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) after launching a nighttime campaign against Hamas in the northwestern district of Rafah, during which the troops from the 401st Armored Brigade killed some 50 Palestinian gunmen.

The convoy was heading toward buildings seized by the army for a rest when a significant explosion struck the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth in the convoy, the IDF said.

The probe results did not verify whether the explosion was due to a bomb that had been planted in advance, or an explosive device placed directly by Hamas operatives on the vehicle.

According to an earlier IDF statement on Saturday, during the week in the Rafah area, Israeli soldiers raided Palestinian militants’ infrastructure based on intelligence, killed militants, and located large quantities of weapons above and below ground.



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