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4 IDF commandos killed in Khan Younis, brings to 256 fallen soldiers since beginning of ground ops in Gaza

IDF releases data on achievements and losses over 6 months of war

From left to right, Cpt. Ido Baruch, Sgt. Reef Harush, Sgt. Amitai Even Shoshan, Sgt. Ilai Zair, who the IDF notified were killed fighting against Hamas in the Khan Younis on April 6, 2024. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

To mark six months of fighting, the IDF on Sunday released data on fighting in all areas of the Operation Iron Swords war. 

With the release of the names of four commando soldiers who died during intense fighting in Khan Younis on Saturday, Israeli Defense Forces announced that 256 IDF soldiers have been killed during operations in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground operations on Oct. 27. 

The four commandos who perished were listed as Capt. Ido Baruch (21) from Tel Mond, a squad commander in the commando training school; Sgt. Amitai Even Shoshan (20) from Azriel, who was undergoing training in the commando training school; Sgt. Reef Harush (20) from Kibbutz Ramat David, who was undergoing training at the commando training school; and Sgt. Ilai Zair (20) from Keidar, who was also in training at the commando training school. 

According to reports in Hebrew media, the four fell in an ambush when terrorists suddenly emerged from an underground shaft in the area.

Three of the four soldiers died in the field before receiving medical attention, while the fourth was evacuated but succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.

The total number of Israeli soldiers killed in action in Gaza since Oct. 7 comes to 600, with another 41 fallen soldiers as a result of operational accidents.

The terrorists were able to escape into the shaft, and the IDF troops chose not to follow them after discovering explosives, apparently set as a trap. 

According to a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian news site, the Al Qassam Brigades claimed to have killed 14 IDF soldiers in that operation. The IDF did not list how many soldiers were wounded in the fighting, only releasing the names of the four commandos who had been killed. 

The IDF also revealed that since operations began, 12,000 terrorists were eliminated in the Gaza Strip, including 5 with the rank of brigade commander, more than 20 with the rank of battalion commander, and about 100 company commanders. 

The Military Intelligence Unit 504 has conducted some 4,600 interrogations of captured terrorists, many of whom have been incriminated in terror activities and several who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre. Included in these, were the Northern Gaza Brigade Commander Rafat Salman, his deputy commander, Wael Rajab, and several battalion commanders. 

Since the beginning of the war, the IDF has also been working against the underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. In recent months, IDF troops, led by the 98th Division and the Yahalom Unit, have located, mapped and destroyed tunnels in Khan Younis. 

In a recent operation, three attack tunnels that had been under IDF intelligence and technological surveillance in recent years were identified, mapped and destroyed. 

Fighting in Khan Younis continues as Israeli troops continue plans and prepare for an operation in Rafah, including the evacuation of civilian evacuees to other areas of the Gaza Strip. 

The United States and Israel have conducted several recent discussions regarding Israel’s plans and goals in Rafah. The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly opposed to an IDF incursion into Rafah. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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