Three IDF Soldiers Killed in Gaza; 27 Wounded
Three IDF soldiers were killed in Gaza Wednesday, the IDF cleared for publication Wednesday night. Their families have been notified.
As of 8:30 pm Wednesday, two of the soldiers' names have been released for publication.
Sergeant First Class Matan Gottlieb, 21, from Rishon LeZion, served in the IDF's Special Forces Maglan Unit. He will be laid to rest in the Rishon LeZion military cemetery at 6:00 pm Thursday.
Sergeant First Class Omar Chai, 21, from Savion, also served in the Maglan Unit. His funeral will be held in the Savion cemetery's military section at 5:00 pm Thursday.
Sergeant First Class Guy Algranati, 20, of Tel Aviv, also served in the Maglan Unit. He will be laid to rest on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery.
In a statement, the army said they had been killed "while uncovering an offensive tunnel shaft in a residence in the southern Gaza Strip."
"The house and the tunnel were booby trapped with two explosive devices that were detonated against the soldiers," it said.
The attack was claimed by Hamas's "military wing," the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which claimed to have killed a group of soldiers during the bombing of a house in Khan Yunis where they were operating, in a statement that was issued earlier in the day.
IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Moti Almoz discussed the incident in a Channel 2 News interview late Wednesday night, where he noted the details behind the deaths.
The Maglan soldiers were entering a house, he said, and "[it is] not yet clear if the house was booby-trapped or perhaps a tunnel explosion was near the building led to the collapse of the building."
"When we work with thousands of soldiers and to battle hundreds of Hamas terrorists and destroy dozens of tunnels, there are also events with casualties," he added. "We send our condolences to the families of the victims."
Almoz also referred to the Cabinet's decision to expand and continue the operation in Gaza, but added that the IDF is planning on pulling out of the area as soon as the targets of the operation have been completed.
Twenty-seven (27) additional soldiers were wounded.
Fifty-six IDF soldiers and officers have been killed since Operation Protective Edge began 23 days ago.