UPDATE - Israel's Netanyahu vows to continue Gaza war

UPDATE - Israel's Netanyahu vows to continue Gaza war

Netanyahu claims that giving in to Hamas' demands will lead to 'additional massacre'

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By Muhammed Sabry and Zein Khalil

JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to continue a deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip until achieving a "crushing victory" against Hamas.

"Giving in to the outrageous demands of Hamas will not only fail to bring about the release of the hostages but will invite an additional massacre and a disaster for Israel," Netanyahu said in a news conference.

"The day after the war is the day after Hamas. Not part of Hamas, not half of Hamas."

Netanyahu said victory against the Gaza-based Palestinian group would come in a "matter of months," not years.

"We are on the way to complete victory. The victory is within reach," he said.

"We will continue until the end," Netanyahu said. "There is no other solution besides complete victory."

“We have not committed to anything regarding the release of terrorists with blood on their hands (referring to Palestinian prisoners accused by Tel Aviv of carrying out or planning attacks),” describing Hamas' demands as “insane and unacceptable.”

Netanyahu added that he “directed the Israeli army to operate in Rafah and two camps in the central Gaza Strip as the last remaining strongholds of Hamas.”

He said the Israeli army “will allow safe passage for civilians,” without clarifying whether the passage is toward Egypt or to the north of the Strip.

“I told Blinken that after eliminating Hamas, we will ensure that Gaza is permanently disarmed, and Israel will operate in Gaza wherever and whenever necessary.”

Asked about a potential agreement to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu said: “If we win, they will see. Everyone is watching who will win: Israel supported by the United States, or Hamas supported by Iran.”

He considered discussing the day after the war as a “sterile debate.”

There are two clear principles: destroying Hamas and ensuring the disarmament of Gaza by the Israeli army, and the ability to remain there.”​​​​​​​

Netanyahu said: “All the objectives set by the political level of the Israeli army have been achieved. Within four months, the Israeli army hit and killed 20,000 terrorists.”

He pointed out that aid being transferred to Gaza from Israel represents "the minimum that should be allowed."


*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala


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