Tel Aviv, November 3 (IANS) The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday named four more soldiers of the 23 troopers killed in action in Gaza since the launch of the ground offensive into the Hamas-controlled enclave on October 27.
The four slain soldiers are Capt Benni Wais (22), Master Sergt (Res) Uriah Mash (41), Master Sgt (Res) Yehonatan Yosef Brand (28) and Sgt Major (Res) Gil Phishitz (39).
Since the Hamas launched its massive assault against Israel on October 7, at least 335 Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting.
So far, a total of 9,061 Palestinians have been killed in the war, mostly women and children, while more than 32,000 people have been injured as a result of the raging violence, according to the latest update by the Gaza Health Ministry.
In Israel, there were about 1,400 casualties with some 5,400 people injured.
According to the Israeli authorities, 242 people are held captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals.
Media reports indicate that about 30 of the hostages are children.
So far, four civilian hostages were released by Hamas, and one female Israeli soldier was rescued by Israeli forces.
Blinken travels to Israel for 3rd time since war erupted
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday travelled to Israel for the third time since the ongoing war with the Hamas militant group began on October 7.
The top US diplomat, who traveled twice to Israel last month in the wake of the unprecedented attack, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials, reports CNN.
Addressing the media in Washington D.C. on Thursday before his departure, Blinken said he planned to talk to the Israeli government about “the ongoing campaign against the Hamas terrorist organization” and “steps that need to be taken to protect civilians”.
The Secretary said that he intended ti discuss about the hostage situation but declined to provide details about the “concrete steps” to better protect civilians.
When asked whether Israel has shown restraint in its offensive so far, he said this was “a crossfire of Hamas’ making”, CNN reported.
Blinken further condemned the militant group for “cynically and monstrously” using civilians as human shields and embedding its fighters within civilian infrastructure.
“When I see a Palestinian child, a boy or girl, pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building – that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child in Israel or anywhere else,” he said.
“This is something that we have an obligation to respond to, and we will.”
Blinken also told the reporters that continued flow of that humanitarian aid and ongoing departure of civilians will also be a part of the discussions during his latest trip.
His last priority in Israel is to discuss “how we can set the conditions for a durable, sustainable peace; durable, sustainable security for Israelis and Palestinians alike", the top diplomat noted.
130 Hamas terrorists killed in ground battles: IDF
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a statement on Thursday said that it killed 130 Hamas terrorists since the ground battles started in Gaza.
The IDF said that it has also destroyed several terror structures in the Gaza Strip since October 27.
The IDF is taking on Hamas by air, sea, and ground, the statement added.