We will not agree to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after the attack carried out by Hamas on October 7. We will continue to strive to destroy this organization, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. He added that “it’s war time.”
– Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to capitulate to Hamas, capitulate to terror and barbarism. It will not happen. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time of war, he said, quoted by the Times of Israel.
Netanyahu has declared that all wars cause unintended civilian casualties. He stressed that Hamas would use civilians as human shields and hide in hospital basements. He also accused the organization of preventing the evacuation of civilians.
The Prime Minister said that the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip is a fight between “civilization and barbarism” and called on allies to support his country. He called the October 7 Hamas attack “the worst atrocity our nation has seen since the Holocaust.”
– Israel will oppose the forces of barbarism until victory. I hope and pray that all civilized nations will support this fight (…), because Israel’s fight is your fight; because if Hamas and the axis of evil Iran wins, you will be the next target, he warned.
Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant also spoke at a press conference on Monday, assuring that his country will not stop until it achieves “absolute and final victory.” – We do not want war, but if anyone tries to drag us into such a reality, they will pay a very high price – he added.
Gaza attacked “from the east and west”
On Monday, Israeli soldiers and tanks attacked Gaza City from the east and west, and airstrikes were also carried out, killing “dozens of Hamas terrorists,” Reuters reported, citing the Israel Defense Forces and witness accounts.
The Israeli army, in a statement quoted by CNN, said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “continued ground operations in the Gaza Strip over the past few hours,” where they “destroyed terrorist infrastructure, including anti-tank missile launchers.”
The soldiers “killed dozens of terrorists who had barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels and were trying to attack them,” said IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. According to him, during the operation, among others, four prominent Hamas fighters were eliminated.
In turn, Reuters – citing residents – reported that Israeli forces carried out dozens of air strikes on the eastern part of Gaza City. Some of them heard tanks entering the city amid the sounds of heavy firefights. The IDF announced that it had struck more than 600 targets in the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours.
Later, the agency added, residents of the Gaza Strip and Hamas-controlled media claimed that Israeli tanks had retreated towards the barrier on the border of the zone. According to the militants, mortar fire forced them to do so.
“The noose around Gaza City is beginning to tighten.”
The BBC reported a video it had verified, showing an Israeli tank shooting at a car on the main road leaving Gaza City towards the southwest. BBC correspondent Paul Adams said Israeli forces were “gradually intensifying their operations” and “the noose around Gaza is starting to tighten.”
Israeli troops expanded ground operations in the Gaza Strip on Friday, reiterating their recommendation to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the northern part of the territory, including Gaza City, to the southern part of the strip. According to the IDF, Hamas fighters are hiding in a vast network of tunnels under densely populated residential areas.
Reuters recalled that many Palestinians remained in Gaza City for fear of losing their homes, as well as fear following reports of Israeli bombings also in the south of the zone.
The Israeli authorities announced the siege of the Gaza Strip on October 7 in response to a brutal attack by the Palestinian organization Hamas, which controls the territory, in which over 1,400 people were killed and over 200 were abducted. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, over 8,300 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.
Main photo source: EPA/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE