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Report: Israel elite soldiers refuse to return to Gaza

February 15, 2024 at 9:46 am

Israeli soldiers stand on a tank as they patrol near the border with Gaza in Southern Israel, Israel on February 14, 2024 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

A group of Israeli soldiers in the elite Givati Brigade have refused to take part in military operations in the Gaza Strip, accusing the army of neglecting their psychological and physical well-being, Haaretz reported yesterday.

Since the Israeli army began its ground operations in Gaza at the end of October 2023, the Givati Brigade, which includes elite fighters, has participated in the most difficult battles in the enclave and lost many of its leaders and members, forcing the army leadership to “temporarily” withdraw them from the battlefield.

During a conversation with field commanders, the soldiers claimed they did not have the mental strength to return to the battlefield and expressed fear that it would endanger their lives.

The newspaper said the army leaders have not yet decided how to respond to the soldiers’ refusal to enter into battle.

Israeli army data updated yesterday indicate that 15 soldiers were injured over a 24-hour period. In total, 2,897 soldiers have been wounded since 7 October including 437 who were seriously injured, 761 moderately injured and 1,699 slightly injured. However, according to the army, 1,352 soldiers were wounded in ground battles in the Gaza Strip.

As many as 352 soldiers are still receiving treatment in hospitals, according to the same source.

Some 569 soldiers had been killed since 7 October, including 232 since the beginning of the army’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on 27 October.

READ: 9,000 Israel soldiers received psychiatric treatment since start of Gaza war