Israeli soldier killed during Gaza Strip raid which aimed to find Hamas hostages

Israel’s military has confirmed one of its soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile today during a raid on the Gaza Strip.

Troops have been carrying out localised raids in the Hamas-controlled Strip ahead of an expected imminent ground assault.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IFF) said the soldier was killed and three other suffered injuries.

They said: “An IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier was killed, one was moderately injured, and two were lightly injured as a result of an anti-tank missile launched toward an IDF tank and an engineering vehicle.”

Israeli military previously said the raids intended to clear the area and gather intelligence about people missing since Hamas carried out its deadly attack on 7 October and find out information about its hostages.

Last week, Hebrew media reported the soldiers had found and recovered the remains of missing Israelis.

The Haaretz newspaper claimed that armoured and infantry forces who entered the Palestinian territory discovered bodies of an unspecified number of people and found some of their belongings.

The Walla website said the bodies were those of Israelis, and indicated that they were recovered close to the border.

An IDF spokesperson said that during the incursions, soldiers also “destroyed terrorist infrastructure and terrorist squads they encountered in the field, among them a Hamas squad firing anti-tank missile towards Israel”.

The soldier’s death comes after the IDF apologised after one of its tanks accidentally injured Egyptian guards at the Gaza Strip border on Sunday.

The tank fired at the Egyptian post near Kerem Shalom, a commercial goods junction and the Egyptian army said the troops were hit by fragments of a shell.

The IDF is investigating how it happened, adding it “expresses sorrow regarding the incident”.

Palestinians also told how they received renewed warnings from Israel’s military to move from north Gaza to the south of the strip.

They claimed they were also warned that they could be identified as sympathisers with a “terrorist organisation” if they stayed where they are.

The message were delivered in leaflets marked with the IDF name and logo and sent to people via mobile phone audio messages across the Gaza Strip.

The leaflets read: “Urgent warning, to residents of Gaza. Your presence north of Wadi Gaza puts your life in danger. Whoever chooses not to leave north Gaza to the south of Wadi Gaza might be identified as an accomplice in a terrorist organisation.”

Israel has pounded Gaza with airstrikes since the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched its attack.

The Israeli military said in a statement it had “no intention to consider those who have not evacuated … as a member of the terrorist group”.

Additional reporting by Reuters.