As the Israel-Hamas war continues to rage, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to retake control of the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, expanding Israel’s mission to neutralise Hamas in a conflict it says it expects to last for months.
Tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have streamed into the already overwhelmed town of Rafah in the southernmost end of Gaza in recent days, according to the United Nations. The Israeli-Hamas war has already driven around 85 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people from their homes, leveling the northern part of the territory and heightening fears about a similar fate for the south.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR: THE LATEST
The border zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt should be under Israel’s control, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, as he predicted the war in the Palestinian enclave and on other regional fronts would last many more months.
Speaking at a news conference, Netanyahu said, “The Philadelphi Corridor – or to put it more correctly, the southern stoppage point (of Gaza) – must be in our hands. It must be shut. It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarisation that we seek. The war is at its height. We are fighting on all fronts. Achieving victory will require time. As the (IDF) chief of staff has said, the war will continue for many more months.”
The Hezbollah terror group has said a strike on the southern Lebanon border town of Bint Jbeil killed one of its fighters, naming him as Ali Ahmed Saad (Jibril). Saad was killed during Israeli strikes on Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon on Saturday afternoon, in response to repeated attacks on northern Israel.
Earlier reports claimed him as a civilian. Hezbollah says he was killed “on the road to Jerusalem,” a euphemism it uses to eulogise its fighters.
The Israel Defense Forces have said they would demolish the homes of three Hamas operatives who last month carried out a shooting attack at a West Bank checkpoint. A soldier was killed, while several others were injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, a Hamas armed wing commander who was a right-hand man to Hamas’s chief bomb-maker decades ago was killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza, The Times of Israel quoted the Palestinian Shehab news outlet as saying. According to the report, Abdul Fattah Amin Maali was a close associate to Yahya Ayyash, one of the founders of the al-Qassam Brigades, the terror group’s armed wing.
Speaking on reports of possible progress toward a new agreement for the release of hostages, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Hamas has issued all kinds of ultimatums that we’ve not accepted. If a viable deal is possible, it will be carried out. We see a possibility, maybe, for movement. I don’t want to raise exaggerated expectations.”
In an answer to another question, Netanyahu said he would not resign. “The only thing I’m going to resign from is Hamas. That’s what I’m dealing with,” Netanyahu said.
A spokesperson for the Israeli military has said many of Hezbollah’s rockets fired at Israel have fallen short inside Lebanon, including around 80 percent of the projectiles fired yesterday.
“We are continuing to attack and damage Hezbollah’s deployment in southern Lebanon. The area of southern Lebanon will never be the same again. Throughout the day, several launches from Lebanon into Israel were detected. Many of Hezbollah’s launches fall in Lebanese territory. Eighty percent of Hezbollah’s rockets yesterday fell in Lebanese territory,” he said.
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