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Live updates | Israel loses 10 soldiers in Gaza as criticism of war's handling rises at home

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LA Post: Live updates | Israel loses 10 soldiers in Gaza as criticism of war's handling rises at home
January 23, 2024
The Associated Press - AP

The Israeli army said Tuesday that 10 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip in one of the deadliest attacks for Israeli soldiers, as criticism at home is rising of the goverment's handling of the 3-month-old war against Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead until Israel crushes the ruling Hamas militant group and wins the freedom of over 100 hostages held captive in Gaza.

Israelis are increasingly divided on the question of whether it’s possible to do either. On Monday, hostages' family members disrupted a committee meeting in Israel’s parliament, yelling, “You won’t sit here while they are dying there!”

On Monday, Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip pounded the southern city of Khan Younis, pushing thousands of Palestinians to flee even further south.

Families made their way on foot down the coastal highway, smoke billowing from the city behind them. Others loaded blankets and belongings into vehicles or donkey carts.

The war has displaced some 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, and one in four of them are starving, the U.N. says.

Late Monday, U.S. officials said the American and British militaries bombed multiple sites in Yemen used by the Iranian-backed Houthis to attack shipping in the Red Sea, as fears grow that Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza will spark a regional conflict.

The Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, which erupted on Oct. 7 when militants from Gaza attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages.

Currently:

— Families of Israeli hostages storm Knesset, demanding deal for their release.

— Iran is ‘ directly involved ’ in ship attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, US Navy commander tells AP.

— European Union pushes for Palestinian statehood, rejecting Israeli leader’s insistence that it’s off the table.

— US military ends rescue search for Navy SEALs lost in raid on ship with Iranian weapons.

— US sanctions Iraqi airline, its CEO and Hamas cryptocurrency financiers.

— Strike kills Hezbollah fighter and civilian in Lebanon, amid seeming Israeli shift to targeted killings.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

10 ISRAELI SOLDIERS KILLED IN GAZA

The Israeli army said Tuesday that 10 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip in one of the deadliest attacks for Israeli soldiers of the 3-month-old war against the militant Hamas group.

Israeli media reported that the soldiers were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings in central Gaza on Monday when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby. The blast triggered the explosives, causing the buildings to collapse on the soldiers inside.

Israel’s Channel 13 says the toll is even higher and that more names will be announced.

NEW ZEALAND WILL SEND TEAM TO ASSIST IN RED SEA

New Zealand announced Tuesday it was sending a six-member team to join an international maritime security coalition in the Red Sea.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said the country's defense personnel will contribute to protecting ships in the Middle East from operational headquarters in the region and elsewhere.

“Houthi attacks against commercial and naval shipping are illegal, unacceptable and profoundly destabilizing,” Luxon said in a written statement Tuesday.

The deployment is mandated to conclude no later than July 31, 2024.

— Wellington, New Zealand

U.S. AND U.K. BOMB YEMEN'S HOUTHI REBELS AGAIN, OFFICIALS SAY

WASHINGTON — The U.S. and British militaries bombed multiple sites used by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen on Monday night, several U.S. officials said. It's the second time the two allies have conducted coordinated retaliatory strikes on the rebels’ missile-launching capabilities.

According to officials, the U.S. and U.K. used warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets to take out Houthi missile storage sites and launchers. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing mission.

The joint operation comes about 10 days after U.S. and British warships and fighter jets struck more than 60 targets in 28 locations. That what was the first U.S. military response to what has been a persistent campaign of Houthi drone and missile attacks on commercial ships since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. The Houthis link their attacks to the conflict.

The Houthi media office said in an online statement that several American and British raids targeted Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. And Jamal Hassan, a resident from south Sanaa, told The Associated Press that two strikes landed near his home, setting off car alarms in the street. An Associated Press journalist in Sanaa also heard aircraft flying above the skies of Sanaa overnight Monday.

The latest barrage of allied attacks follows an almost-daily assault on Houthi missile launchers by U.S. fighter jets and ship-based Tomahawks over the past week.

The chaotic wave of attacks and reprisals involving the United States, its allies and foes suggests that the retaliatory strikes haven’t deterred the Houthis from their campaign against Red Sea shipping, and that the broader regional war that the U.S. has spent months trying to avoid is becoming closer to reality.

___

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed.

U.S. MILITARY SAYS ATTACK ON ITS TROOPS AT IRAQ BASE WAS ‘LARGER SCALE’ THAN BEFORE

WASHINGTON — Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said Monday that an attack by Iranian-backed militants on a base housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Saturday “was a larger scale attack than we have seen before,” calling it a “barrage.”

Multiple missiles were fired at al-Asad air base in western Iraq, injuring two U.S. personnel and one Iraqi Security Forces member, she said. The U.S. personnel have returned to duty, Singh said.

Since the Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza began on Oct. 7, Iran-backed militias have launched 151 attacks on U.S. facilities in Syria and Iraq. Most of them have been claimed by an umbrella group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which has said the attacks are in retaliation for Washington’s support for Israel in the war.

Singh was briefing reporters at the Pentagon Monday. According to the Pentagon, the three latest attacks took place on Monday morning and included multiple rockets fired at U.S. and coalition troops at Mission Support Site Euphrates in Syria, a single rocket fired at the Rumalyn Landing Zone in Syria and a one-way attack drone fired at al-Asad. There were no casualties or damage reported from these attacks.

Also on Monday, the U.S. slapped new sanctions on Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and its CEO Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani, saying they have provided assistance to Iran’s military wing and its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

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