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Israel-Palestine war: Son of Israeli war cabinet minister killed in northern Gaza

The number of Israeli soldiers killed in the enclave reaches 88 with the death of Gal Meir Eisenkot
Knesset Member and former military chief Gadi Eisenkot attends a demonstration against proposed judicial reforms by Israel's government near Jerusalem on 9 February 2023.
Knesset Member and former military chief Gadi Eisenkot attends a demonstration against proposed judicial reforms by Israel's government near Jerusalem, on 9 February 2023 (Reuters)

The son of Israeli government minister Gadi Eisenkot, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet, has been killed in northern Gaza, Israel's military said on Thursday.

The Israeli military said that Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, a combat soldier in the 551st reserve commando Brigade’s 699th Battalion, died during military operations in the besieged enclave.

A total of 414 Israeli soldiers have been killed since war broke out on 7 October between Israel and Palestine, with 88 of those killed in Gaza.

His father was chief of the general staff of the Israeli military from February 2015 to January 2018 and served in the military for more than four decades, was elected to the Knesset in 2022 and is a member of Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party.

Gantz paid tribute to Eisenkot's son, saying in a statement: “May the memory of Gal and the memory of all those who fell in the battle for the home of all of us be blessed. Also in his name, also in their name, we continue the mission.”

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Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to Gadi Eisenkot, saying on X that "Israel and the citizens of Israel mourn together with you".

Israel launched a military invasion of Gaza in response to an attack on southern Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian groups on 7 October. The surprise attack on southern Kibbitzum communities left 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals killed plus 240 hostages taken back to Gaza. Over 17,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces during its bombing campaign and ground invasion of the Strip.

Although many hostages have been freed after a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel, 100 continue to be held in Gaza. Dozens of Palestinian women and children were also released from Israeli detention.

The Times of Israel reported earlier on Thursday that another three Israeli soldiers had been killed in Gaza, while one Israeli national was killed in northern Israel by an anti-tank missile fired from the direction of Lebanon.

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Netanyahu warned the Lebanese group Hezbollah that Israel would turn the country's capital Beirut and southern Lebanon into "Gaza and Khan Younis" should it go for an all-out war.

Meanwhile, the US has advised Israel to limit civilian casualties in southern Gaza after it renewed its ground campaign in the enclave late last month.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also told officials in Israel’s war cabinet that the Biden administration believed the conflict should end in weeks, not months, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. 

On Thursday, White House aide Jonathan Finer said that the US had not given Israel a "final deadline" to wrap up major combat operations in Gaza. 

"If war were to stop today, Hamas would continue to pose a threat to Israel, which is why the US is not asking Israel to stop," Finer said in a briefing. Commenting on Israel's expansion of the bombardment of southern Gaza, he said the US believes there are "legitimate targets" left in the south. 

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