Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense
The Namer 1500 armored troops carrier. (illustrative)

Eight IDF soldiers were killed early Saturday morning when the vehicle in which they were riding blew up in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. All eight soldiers died instantly.

The soldiers, members of a company from the 601st Combat Engineering Battalion, had just completed an operation in the Tal as-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah and were heading to rest in a building cleared by fellow troops when their Namer armored vehicle exploded.


Captain Wassem Mahmoud, a 23-year-old Druze officer from Beit Jann, was among those who lost their lives in the explosion, the IDF said. Mahmoud was a deputy company commander in the battalion.

“A great tragedy has befallen us. Waseem was injured at the beginning of the war by shrapnel that penetrated his arm. He was supposed to undergo surgery, but he postponed it until the end of the war. Waseem was a determined and brave fighter, everyone loved him,” Mahmoud’s uncle, Sharif Ghanem, told Ynet. He added that the soldier’s mother “is completely devastated.”

The names of the other seven fallen soldiers have yet to be released for publication.

The tragic incident is under investigation, the IDF said.

“Our hearts shatter into pieces at the enormity of this loss,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday evening. “The entire nation of Israel embraces the precious families in their time of deep sorrow. I strengthen our courageous fighters and commanders, who are dedicated to the sacred mission of defeating our enemies and bringing back our abductees.

“When the price is so heavy, we must remember what we are fighting for: we are fighting to ensure our existence and our future, we are fighting to bring back all our abductees,” Netanyahu said.

To the Israeli public, the prime minister added a warning: “Do not let anyone distract you from the simple and clear fact – despite the heavy and shocking price, we must adhere to the war goals: destroying the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas, bringing back all our abductees, ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, and returning our residents safely to their homes – both in the north and in the south.”

In addition, Yair Roitman of Karnei Shomron, age 19, of Sayeret Givati, died from the wounds that he sustained on June 10, 2024.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.