Israel says Gaza war likely to last another seven months | Israel-Palestine Conflict News

Israel’s national security adviser says the continuing war in Gaza is likely to last until the end of the year.

In an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan on Wednesday, Tzachi Hanegbi said that “we expect another seven months of fighting” to destroy the military and governance capabilities of Hamas and the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group.

His comments came as Israel finds itself increasingly isolated on the world stage, nearly eight months after the attack, and even the United States and other close allies expressed outrage over the civilian death toll.

Hanegbi defended Israel’s current operations in Rafah, on Gaza’s border with Egypt, saying the border had become a “smuggling kingdom” since 2007, when Hamas began ruling Gaza.

“Every rocket, every explosive device, every shot fired against Israel is because that border was crossed,” he said.

Later on Wednesday, an Israeli military spokesman said the army had gained “operational control” over the narrow Philadeplhi corridor, a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza that was created as part of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

“In recent days, our forces have taken operational control of the Philadelphia Corridor,” Army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised address.

Egypt has expressed serious concerns about the Israeli offensive in Rafah, saying it threatens the peace treaty.

Hanegbi’s comments raise questions about the future of Gaza and what kind of role Israel will play in it. The United States, its main ally, has already demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu present a postwar vision for the Palestinian territory, and his defense minister and a major government partner have warned that he must take steps to ensure that Israel do not remain in Gaza indefinitely.

Israel’s attack has already devastated Gaza’s urban landscape, displaced most of the territory’s population, and caused a humanitarian catastrophe and widespread hunger. Israel says it must dismantle the last remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah and also said it will seek indefinite security control over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has rejected any post-war plans that would exclude the group, reiterating that it will remain in Gaza.

So far, the Rafah offensive has killed dozens of Palestinians, while NGOs and professional unions declared Gaza a “hunger-stricken” zone.

Recent attacks have hit so-called humanitarian safe zones near Rafah, killing dozens of people, according to Palestinian officials.

Israeli tanks advanced into the heart of the city of Rafah on Tuesday despite an order from the International Court of Justice for Israel to end its attacks in the area.

The situation “is getting worse”

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Deir el-Balah, said that in the central part of Rafah city, there is “a confirmed report of families trapped inside their residential houses, caught in the line of artillery fire.”

Israeli quadcopters had pursued people there, he said, preventing them from evacuating to safer areas.

“From the northeast to the northwest of Rafah, where tent camps have been attacked in recent days, the situation is worsening by the hour due to extensive military operations,” Mahmoud said.

“At the same time, almost all public and health facilities are out of service at the moment.”

The World Court said Israel had not explained how it would keep Rafah evacuees safe and provide them with food, water and medicine. His ruling also called on Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release hostages taken in Israel on October 7.

Residents of Rafah said Israeli tanks had advanced towards Tal as-Sultan in the west and Jibna and near Shaboura in the center before withdrawing towards a buffer zone on the border with Egypt, rather than standing still as they have. done in other offensives.

Palestinian health officials said on Wednesday that 19 civilians had been killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling across Gaza.

Health Minister Majed Abu Ramadan urged Washington to pressure Israel to open the Rafah crossing into Egypt for aid supplies, saying there was no indication that Israeli authorities would do so soon and that patients in the besieged Gaza were dying from lack of treatment.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, on Tuesday reiterated its opposition to a major ground offensive in Rafah, although it said it did not believe such an operation was underway.

The armed wing of Hamas and that of its ally Islamic Jihad said they confronted invading forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and detonated explosive devices they had planted, resulting in numerous successful attacks.

The Israeli military said three Israeli soldiers were killed and three seriously wounded.

In the nearby town of Khan Younis, an Israeli airstrike killed three people overnight, including Salama Baraka, a former senior Hamas police officer, doctors and Hamas media said. Another killed four people, including two children, doctors said.

In northern Gaza, Israeli forces shelled neighborhoods of Gaza City and moved deeper into Jabalia, where residents said large residential districts were destroyed.

According to health officials, more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

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