STORY: :: Beit Jann, Israel

Mourners on Sunday buried Israeli military officer Wassem Mahmoud, the commander who was killed in the Gaza Strip along with seven of his soldiers on Saturday.

At the funeral, an officer said Mahmoud led his soldiers "with bravery, determination and professionalism."

Mahmoud was a member of Israel's Druze minority, a sect whose faith draws its roots from Islam.

The Israeli military said Mahmoud and his squad were traveling inside an armored personnel carrier in a convoy of vehicles in the southern city of Rafah on Saturday.

Here's army spokesperson Daniel Hagari:

:: June 15, 2024

"According to the information we have, at this point a strong explosion occurred in one of the engineering vehicles in the convoy, apparently caused by an explosive device planted in the area or as a result of an anti-tank missile being fired. Inside the armored carrier were the eight fighters who were killed."

The armed wing of the Hamas militant group said the vehicle had been trapped in a prepared minefield.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called the casualties "another heartbreaking price in our just war for the defense of our homeland."

And he pledged again to stick with his military objectives: the destruction of the Hamas militant group and the return of all Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

:: Israel Police via X

On Saturday, the Israeli police released this footage purporting to show parts of an operation last weekend that rescued 26-year-old Noa Argamani and three others who were taken captive on October 7.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the date or the location the video was filmed.

:: Jabalia Refugee Camp, Gaza

:: October 14, 2023

Despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire, an agreement to halt the fighting still appears distant, more than eight months since the start of the war in the Palestinian enclave.

:: Rafah, Gaza

:: June 13, 2024

But Israel's military on Sunday said it would hold daily tactical pauses in combat operations along a main road in southern Gaza to allow more aid to flow into the area.

:: October 7, 2023

The war erupted when Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 and taking more than 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies.

:: Source: Israeli military

Israel's retaliatory airstrikes and ground invasion have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

:: Jabalia, Gaza

Israeli forces have been closing in on Rafah, where it claims brigades of Hamas fighters remain entrenched.