Gaza war to continue for at least seven months – Israel

The fighting in the Palestinian enclave has been raging since October

Israel’s military operation in Gaza will continue at least until the end of the year, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said on Wednesday.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militants raided southern Israeli settlements on October 7, leaving some 1,200 people dead and taking more than 200 hostages. Dozens of captives were subsequently released through prisoner exchanges, during a weeklong truce in November. More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in nearly eight months of fighting, according to Hamas-run local authorities.

“Inside Gaza, the IDF is now in control of 75% of the Philadelphi Corridor and I believe it will be in control of it all with time,” Hanegbi told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, referring to the buffer zone running along the Egypt-Gaza border.

“Together with the Egyptians, we must ensure weapon smuggling is prevented,” he added.

Earlier this month, the IDF launched an assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite international concern that the attack would result in mass civilian casualties. The Israeli government has claimed that a ground operation was required to eliminate Hamas.

The incursion has forced one million people to flee Rafah, most of whom had already been displaced several times by the war in Gaza.

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Israeli tanks reportedly reach center of Rafah

In the past two days, Israeli shelling and airstrikes have killed at least 37 people, most of them sheltering in tents outside Rafah, according Sky News, citing witnesses and hospital officials.

The latest strikes reportedly hit the same area where attacks had triggered a deadly fire that swept through a camp for displaced Palestinians, killing at least 45 people late on Sunday. The fatalities in the Sunday night bombardment reportedly included 12 women and eight children, causing international outrage. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the airstrike “a tragic mistake.” 

Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, over alleged war crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Netanyahu branded the decision by the ICC prosecutor “absurd” and insisted that the court has “no jurisdiction over Israel.”

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