Israel launches Gaza war second phase: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday that hostilities in Gaza had entered a second phase, with Israeli forces launching ground operations against Hamas militants who control the Palestinian enclave. As Israeli warplanes dropped more bombs, leaving the besieged Gaza Strip almost cut off from the outside world, military leaders said preparations were underway for a long-threatened ground offensive against Hamas militants.
Netanyahu warned at a press conference in Tel Aviv that the war would be long and difficult and reiterated Israel’s call for Palestinian civilians to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip, where Israel has concentrated its attacks. He vowed to do everything to rescue the more than 200 hostages held by Hamas.
“This is the second phase of the war and its goal is clear – to destroy Hamas’s government and military capacity and bring the hostages home,” Netanyahu told reporters. Israel blockaded and bombed the Gaza Strip three weeks after an attack by the Islamist group Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis on October 7, the deadliest day in the country’s 75-year history. Western countries generally support Israel’s right to self-defense, but the international community is increasingly concerned about the casualties caused by the bombing, and there are growing calls to freeze aid to civilians in Gaza.
Health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, say 7,650 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli crackdowns. With many buildings in ruins and shelter difficult to find, Gazans lack food, water, fuel and medicine. Their situation worsened after phone and internet services were disrupted on Friday evening, followed by heavy bombing overnight. “God bless everyone under the rubble,” said a journalist in Gaza. He spent a terrifying night in a stairwell where he saw a “rib of fire” as bombs fell and Israeli troops appeared to exchange fire with Palestinian fighters.
Without a mobile phone, no one could call an ambulance and emergency services ran out of fuel, he said. Desperate people will use walkie-talkies to call for help when contacting the police, he added. Although there were no signs of a large-scale invasion, Israel said troops sent to Gaza on Friday night were still on the ground, focusing on infrastructure, including a vast network of tunnels built by Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday linked the conflict with Hamas to the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-1949, which took place around the time Israel declared independence. “The war in Gaza will last a long time. This is our second war of independence. We will save our country,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday that the second phase of the war against Hamas has begun, aimed at destroying the group’s armed wing and government and bringing home the hostages held in Gaza. “Our heroic warriors have one goal: to destroy this enemy and ensure the survival of our country. Never again. “Now it’s ‘never again,'” Netanyahu said at a press conference on Saturday.
On the hostages: Netanyahu also confirmed that he had spoken to the families of the hostages held by Hamas and vowed to use all means to repatriate their relatives. At the same media briefing, Israeli Defense Minister Yov Galant said increased attacks would increase Hamas’ chances of returning the hostages it is holding in Gaza.w
“When we hit the enemy harder, the enemy is more likely to agree to a solution that brings their loved ones home,” Galante said. The expanded ground operation has upset the families of the hostages, with an advocacy group saying on Saturday that their loved ones face “absolute uncertainty about the fate of the hostages who are being held (in Gaza), who are also under heavy bombardment”.
“Anxiety, frustration and, above all, sheer anger because no one from the War Cabinet bothered to meet with the families of the hostages to explain one thing – whether the operation on the ground threatened the welfare of the 229 hostages in Gaza,” the group said. . in the statement.