Eight Israeli soldiers were killed while riding in an armored vehicle in southern Gaza on Saturday, the Israeli military said in a statement, as the Israeli offensive in the southern city of Rafah continued to exact a toll among its troops.

The deaths occurred around 5:15 a.m. as Israeli troops operated in the northwest part of Tel al-Sultan, a neighborhood in western Rafah, said an Israeli military official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss a preliminary probe into the blast.

The soldiers — who belonged to the military’s engineering corps — were riding in an armored vehicle when the blast occurred, the official said. An explosive device apparently damaged the vehicle, but may have also ignited munitions inside it, the official said, adding that the explosion was severe enough to make locating and identifying the bodies difficult.

Hamas, the Palestinian armed group, said in a statement that its militants had fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli military vehicles in western Rafah, killing some soldiers.

Israel has fought for more than eight months in Gaza in the wake of the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7, which killed roughly 1,200 in Israel — mostly civilians — and took some 250 others hostage. Over 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of the war, according to Palestinian health officials, who do not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Hamas has fought a dogged guerrilla war, resisting Israel’s efforts to decisively defeat the organization, take down its leaders and bring back many of those abducted during the surprise Oct. 7 attack.

Over 300 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza began in late October. The single deadliest event took place at the end of January, when about 20 Israeli soldiers were killed as they prepared to demolish buildings inside Gaza near the border with Israel.

Israeli forces have closed in on Rafah in recent weeks, sweeping along the border area with Egypt in an effort to destroy tunnels they say Hamas used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. They have also conducted raids into the city itself. The United Nations estimates than more than one million Palestinians have fled Rafah.

In the northern town of Beit Jann — populated by Arab Israelis who adhere to the Druze faith — residents mourned Waseem Mahmoud, one of the fallen soldiers. The Druze occupy an unusual middle ground in Israel: Arab practitioners of a minority religion who generally serve in Israel’s military and security forces.

The town’s residents had planned to observe Eid al-Adha, a holiday shared by both Muslims and Druze. But all of the public festivities were called off in light of the news, said Nazih Dabour, the town mayor.

“We can’t bury our children and celebrate on the same day,” said Mr. Dabour, who paid the family a condolence call on Saturday. “It’s a huge tragedy for us.”

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