The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are grappling with the aftermath of a devastating incident in Rafah, southern Gaza, where eight soldiers from Combat Engineering Battalion 601 lost their lives during an operation early this morning. 

The incident, which occurred at approximately 05:15 AM local time, marks a significant loss for the IDF, the largest loss of IDF soldiers in a day since January. 

The soldiers, part of Givati Battalion 424 within Brigade Combat Team 401, were engaged in an operation targeting Hamas militants and terrorist infrastructure in the northwestern part of Tal al-Sultan. Initial reports indicate that their Namer armored vehicle was struck by a powerful explosion, believed to have been caused by a side bomb. The explosion was exacerbated by engineering tools and explosive materials carried on the vehicle, leading to severe damage and making identification of the soldiers challenging.

Among the fallen soldiers is Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, hailing from Beit Jann, who served as the Deputy Commander of the 601st Engineering Battalion. The names of the other seven soldiers will be released pending notification of their families.... Read More: i24