10 soldiers who fell in Gaza over Shabbat
10 soldiers who fell in Gaza over ShabbatCourtesy

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit on Sunday morning cleared for publication of the names of five of the eight soldiers who were killed in the explosion of an APC in Rafah on Saturday:

- Sergeant Elyahu Moshe Zimbalist, 21, from Beit Shemesh.

- Sergeant Itay Amar, 19, from Kokhav Ya'ir–Tzur Yig'al.

- Staff sergeant Stanislav Kostarev, 21, from Ashdod.

- Staff sergeant Orr Blumovitz, 20, from Pardes Hanna-Karkur.

- Staff sergeant Oz Yeshaia Gruber, 20, from Tal Menashe.

All of them served in the 601st Combat Engineering Battalion.

On Saturday night, it was cleared for publication that one of the eight IDF soldiers killed in Rafah was Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, from Beit Jann.

Mahmoud was a deputy company commander in Engineering Battalion 601. He commanded the APC which went up in flames.

In addition, the IDF cleared for publication on Sunday morning that Captain Eitan Koplovich, 28, from Jerusalem, and Senior Staff Sergeant Major Elon Waiss, 49, from Psagot, fell in battle in the northern Gaza Strip.

Both served in the 129th Armored Battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade.

Two soldiers were seriously injured in the incident in which Koplovich and Waiss fell. They were evacuated for medical treatment at a hospital and their families were notified.

The town of Beit El announced on Saturday night that its resident, Sergeant Shalom Menachem, 21, was one of the victims of the APC disaster in Rafah, which left eight soldiers dead.

"Shalom Menachem was raised in Beit El and is survived by his parents and seven siblings. He fought for five months in Gaza, defending the State of Israel's security, and fell as a hero while serving in his role. The funeral details will be announced later," an announcement read.

The Nahal Sorek Regional Council announced that IDF soldier Yakir Levi, 21, from Kibbutz Hafetz Haim was killed in the Rafah tragedy.

From a preliminary investigation of the event, two options are now being considered. One is that an anti-tank missile hit the APC, and the second is that the APC hit a powerful explosive device that caused the explosives and mines on it to explode.

Commenting on the incident, IDF Spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said on Saturday night, "Tonight we delivered the hardest news to the families of eight IDF soldiers who fell in action in Gaza."

"In the early morning, with the completion of the operation on the northwestern part of the area, infantry, armored and engineering troops from the 401st Brigade entered the area in convoys of armored fighting vehicles in order to position themselves in the contact lines. According to the information we have at this stage, a powerful explosion occurred in one of the engineering vehicles in the convoy, seemingly caused by an explosive device planted in the area or as a result of anti-tank missile fire. Inside the armored vehicle were the eight soldiers who were killed," said Hagari.

"Following this difficult incident, a team of experts from the Ministry of Defense and the IDF will examine the armored vehicle and all the details of the incident until we reach findings," he added.