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8 soldiers killed in Rafah explosion

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By Vered Weiss, World Israel News
On Saturday, 8 IDF soldiers were killed in an explosion in Rafah in southern Gaza, the deadliest incident in six months.
As of Saturday afternoon, only one of the fallen soldiers was named Druze Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, from Beit Jann.
Mahmoud was a deputy commander of Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.
The families of the other seven soldiers have been notified, and their names will be announced.
The soldiers were killed by an explosion inside a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV).
The incident occurred after an overnight operation in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafa during which soldiers from the 401st Armored Brigade killed 50 terrorists.’
The Namer was part of a convoy headed toward buildings captured during the operations, where the troops were to rest.
The vehicle carrying the soldiers that were killed was the fifth or sixth in the convoy, and it isn’t yet known whether the explosion resulted from a bomb that was planted previously or if the terrorists hit the vehicle with explosives.
The IDF is also investigating whether explosives kept outside of the vehicle could have been responsible for the explosion. However, it would be unusual for bombs detonating outside of the car to cause the injuries that resulted in the deaths.
Saturday’s incident brought the IDF death toll since the beginning of the war to 307.
Captain Mahmoud’s uncle, Sharif Ghanem, said his nephew returned to fighting after being injured early in the war.
“A great tragedy has befallen us. Waseem was injured at the beginning of the war by shrapnel that penetrated his arm.”
Sharif Ghanem added, “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.”
Ghanem said, ” Waseem was supposed to start his studies in March, but he postponed them because his main focus was the army and his unit, and ensuring the security of the country. “


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