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“War to go on until Hamas is soundly defeated” — Netanyahu



"War to go on even if Hamas is soundly defeated" --- Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that the phase of intense fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is nearing its conclusion. However, he emphasized that the conflict will not end until Hamas no longer controls the enclave.

Netanyahu stated that once the intense fighting subsides, Israel plans to redeploy more forces to its northern border with Lebanon, where hostilities with the Iran-backed Hezbollah have intensified.

“After the intense phase is finished, we will have the possibility to move part of the forces north. And we will do this. First and foremost for defensive purposes. And secondly, to bring our [evacuated] residents home,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 14. He added that this objective would be pursued diplomatically if possible, but by other means if necessary.

Many Israeli towns near the Lebanese border have been evacuated due to the ongoing conflict. When asked about the timeline for ending the intense phase of fighting against Hamas, Netanyahu replied, “Very soon,” but clarified that military operations in Gaza would continue. “I am not willing to end the war and leave Hamas as it is,” he asserted.

Netanyahu also reiterated his opposition to the notion of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority taking control of Gaza in place of Hamas.

The comments come as Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant traveled to Washington to discuss the next steps in the Gaza conflict and the escalating hostilities on the Lebanon border.