Gaza war: Five Israeli soldiers killed 'by tank fire' in Jabalia

Israeli tank near Jabalia (13/05/24)
Israeli forces have gone back in Jabalia months after pulling out [EPA]

Five Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza, the military says, in one of the deadliest incidents of its kind since the war began in October.

Israeli media say the troops were killed when they were mistakenly hit by Israeli tank fire on Wednesday.

It happened in Jabalia in northern Gaza, where Israeli forces are battling Hamas fighters.

Troops went back into the town this week after previously pulling out, saying Hamas had regrouped there.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Jabalia since Saturday, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an operation with air strikes. Troops re-entered Jabalia on Monday.

Fighting there and in the southern town of Rafah, where about half of Gaza's civilian 2.3 million population had taken shelter, has intensified in recent days.

Some 600,000 Palestinians have since fled Rafah, and another 100,000 have been newly displaced by a resurgence of fighting in the north, the UN says.

The five Israeli soldiers killed in Jabalia on Wednesday all served in the 202nd Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade.

Israeli media cited the IDF as saying it was investigating why they were hit by tank fire.

However, an initial probe found that the soldiers had occupied a building in Jabalia refugee camp, dozens of metres of way from Israeli tanks also stationed in the area.

The tanks identified a weapon in the building and fired two shells towards it, the probe found.

Seven other soldiers were injured by the tank fire, three of them severely.