Hamas said nine Israeli soldiers had been killed in Gaza and several more wounded in the ground invasion of the territory that began on Saturday night. A statement early on Sunday from Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said that in monitoring Israeli military radio traffic, it learned that five soldiers had been killed. It added later that the number had increased to nine with fatalities it could directly confirm. One of the dead was said to be an officer. The Israeli army refused to comment. Meanwhile, Palestinian medics said a number of militants had been seriously wounded in fighting in the north of Gaza, but that ambulances had been unable to reach them.