Two IDF soldiers killed in Gaza
Israel Defense Forces soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip, June 21, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the mortar fire in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood.

JNS Staff Report
June 21, 2024

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in a Hamas mortar attack in the Netzarim Corridorin the central Gaza Strip, the military announced Friday morning.

The troops, from the Alexandroni Reserve Infantry Brigade’s 9203rd Battalion, were named as Sgt. First Class (res.) Omer Smadga, 25, from Ganot Hadar, near Netanya, and Sgt. First Class (res.) Saadia Yaakov Dery, 27, from Tel Aviv.

Smadga died on the 54th birthday of his father, Oren Smadga, the first Israel man to win an Olympic medal, having taken a bronze in judo in the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the mortar fire on Thursday in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood.

Three additional soldiers from the battalion were seriously wounded in the attack.

On Sunday, the military announced that 11 soldiers had been killed in action in Gaza over the previous 48 hours. One additional soldier passed away from wounds sustained during fighting last week.

Eight of the soldiers were killed early on Saturday morning when their “Namer” armored personnel carrier was destroyed during an operation in Tel Sultan in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah. It was one of the deadliest incidents since late January, when 21 soldiers were killed in a building collapse caused by a blast in central Gaza.

The total death toll among IDF troops since the start of the Gaza ground operation on Oct. 27 now stands at 312, and at 664 on all fronts since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, according to IDF data.

Additionally, Ch. Insp. Arnon Zamora, a member of the Israel Border Police’s “Yamam” National Counter-Terrorism Unit, was mortally wounded in Gaza earlier this month during a mission to rescue four hostages.

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