Netanyahu vows 'We will not stop fighting until Hamas is eliminated

Israel PM Netanyahu vows ‘We will not stop fighting until Hamas is eliminated. Whoever thinks we will stop is detached from reality’

Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the Israel Defence Forces will ‘not stop fighting until Hamas is eliminated’, ruling out the prospect of any immediate ceasefire in war-torn Gaza.

The Israel Prime Minister was speaking after Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh had travelled to Cairo today for talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel to discuss a possible truce in the besieged enclave.

Tel Aviv is under increasing pressure for a deal to free more hostages after three Israelis were killed by the IDF after being mistaken for terrorists despite holding up white flags with ‘SOS’ written on.

The UN Security Council was also set to vote later today on a resolution calling for a pause in the war, diplomatic sources told AFP, after two previous votes were delayed as members wrangled over wording.

‘We won’t stop fighting until we’ve achieved all the objectives we’ve set ourselves: the elimination of Hamas, the release of our hostages and the end of the threat from Gaza,’ Netanyahu said in a statement.

Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has vowed that the Israel Defence Forces will ‘not stop fighting until Hamas is eliminated’

A fireball erupts after Israeli strike over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 20 as the conflict shows no signs of stopping

People carry the shrouded body of a person killed during Israeli bombardment at the Kuwait Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 20

Netanyahu also said Israeli forces were attacking Hamas terrorists ‘everywhere’ in Gaza.

READ MORE: Revealed: Israeli hostages had used food to write ‘SOS’ on makeshift white flags they were waving when they were shot by IDF forces who ignored orders not to fire 

‘Anyone who thinks we will stop is not connected to reality … We are attacking Hamas with fire – an inferno,’ he said.

‘We also attacking their accomplices near and far.’

The visit to Cairo by its top leader came a day after Hamas fired rockets that set off air raid sirens in central Israel.

It was a show of strength after a 10-week war that has devastated much of northern Gaza, killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians and driven some 1.9 million, nearly 85 per cent of the population, from their homes.

Israel has called on the rest of the world to blacklist Hamas as a terrorist organisation, saying it must be removed from power in Gaza in the wake of its October 7 rampage across southern Israel that triggered the war.

But the sides have recently relaunched indirect talks, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the US.

Israeli soldiers fire mortars from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip on December 20

An Israeli soldier writes on a mortar in a position near the Israel-Gaza border on Wednesday

The goal is to achieve another ceasefire and free more of the hostages Hamas took in its attack in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

READ MORE: Female hostage seen screaming from the back of a bike while being abducted on October 7 ‘was likely kidnapped by Palestinian CIVILIANS who followed Hamas into Israel’  

Mobile phone and internet service was down across Gaza again on Wednesday, which could complicate efforts to communicate with Hamas leaders inside the territory who went into hiding after October 7.

The war has led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Tens of thousands of people are crammed into overcrowded shelters and tent camps amid shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

Israel’s foreign minister travelled to Cyprus to discuss the possibility of establishing a maritime corridor that would allow the delivery of large amounts of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Despite a burst of diplomacy by high-level officials in recent days, the two sides appeared to be far from an agreement.

Hamas has said no more hostages will be released until the war ends, and is expected to insist on the release of large numbers of Palestinian prisoners, including high-level militants, for the captives that remain.

Israel has rejected the demands so far. But it has a history of lopsided exchanges for captive Israelis and the government is under heavy public pressure to bring the hostages home safely.

Smoke rising from Israeli air strikes on the city of Khan Yunis on December 20, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on December 20

A woman and children react, as Palestinians gather the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the ongoing conflict

Egypt and Qatar helped mediate a week-long ceasefire in November in which Hamas freed over 100 hostages in exchange for Israel’s release of 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas and other militants are still holding an estimated 129 captives.

Hamas said that Haniyeh, who is believed to be based in Qatar but whose movements are rarely publicised, would discuss the war with Egyptian officials, without providing more details.

Ziad Nakhaleh, the leader of the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, which took part in the October 7 attack and is also holding hostages, said he would also be going to Egypt in the coming days to participate in the talks.

Egypt, which borders Gaza, is deeply concerned about a potential influx of Palestinian refugees, fearing Israel will not allow them to return.

Meanwhile at least 46 people were killed and more than 100 wounded early on Wednesday after Israel bombarded the urban Jabaliya refugee camp near Gaza City, according to Munir al-Bursh, a senior health ministry official.

In southern Gaza, several women and children were among those taken to Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis after strikes overnight and into Wednesday.

Destroyed houses are seen in Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. The kibbutz was overrun by Hamas on October 7

A boy could be seen sobbing next to his wounded mother, who was laid out on a stretcher, before being lifted up and placed on her chest.

At least five people were killed and dozens injured in another strike that hit three residential homes and a mosque in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah on Wednesday, health officials said.

With the death toll steadily rising, Israel has come under growing pressure to halt or scale back its offensive.

But Israeli leaders have vowed to press ahead until Hamas’ military and governing capabilities are destroyed and until all hostages are freed.

‘We will continue the war until the end. It will continue until Hamas is destroyed, until victory,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

‘Whoever thinks we will stop is detached from reality’, he added, saying every member of Hamas is ‘marked for death’.

His defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said on Tuesday that in southern Gaza, where the military launched a ground incursion focused on Khan Younis in early December, that operations will take months.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said on Tuesday that the death toll since the start of the war had risen to more than 19,600. It does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths.

Hamas terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in the October 7 attack.

Israel’s military says 134 of its soldiers have been killed in the Gaza ground offensive.

Israel says it has killed some 7,000 terrorists, without providing evidence. It blames civilian deaths in Gaza on Hamas, saying it uses them as human shields when it fights in residential areas.

Source: Read Full Article