A devastating explosion in Rafah, Gaza, resulted in the deaths of eight Israeli troops. This marks the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in six months. The troops were killed when their armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) was hit by a massive explosion while driving in a convoy in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.

An initial IDF probe revealed that the troops were inside the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy. The explosion occurred around 5 a.m. local time. The soldiers were being transported to recently seized buildings after an overnight operation against Hamas in the northwestern areas of Rafah. During this operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade killed around 50 gunmen. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

This incident is one of the deadliest for the IDF in the entire War in Gaza and the deadliest since ground operations into Rafah began last month. The eight soldiers who lost their lives have been identified, including Cpt. Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion from Beit Jann.

The total number of IDF soldiers killed in the war now stands at 309, with many casualties occurring during Hamas’s initial assault.