Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel says it’s on ‘third phase’ of Gaza ground operations

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Israel is on the “third phase” of ground operations in Gaza “in order to continue dismantling the Hamas terrorist state,” Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said on Wednesday.

“The Hamas Khan Younis battalion played a key role in the atrocities of the October 7th massacre, and we are working to destroy the terror infrastructure that it has built above and below ground within civilian areas,” Levy said during a media briefing in Tel Aviv.

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Levy added that Israel was “doing everything,” it can “to minimize civilian casualties.”

Israel’s military entered Khan Younis on Tuesday , Gaza’s second-largest city, in its pursuit to wipe out the territory’s Hamas rulers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the military must retain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip long after the war ends. Around 1,200 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’ October 7 attack.

Israel’s widening air and ground offensive in southern Gaza has displaced tens of thousands more Palestinians and is worsening the territory’s dire humanitarian conditions.

A wounded Palestinian is brought into Nasser hospital, following Israeli strikes on Ma'an school east of Khan Younis, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 5, 2023. (Reuters)
A wounded Palestinian is brought into Nasser hospital, following Israeli strikes on Ma'an school east of Khan Younis, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 5, 2023. (Reuters)



The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory has surpassed 16,200, with more than 42,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70 percent of the dead were women and children.

Also on Tuesday, family members of hostages still held in Gaza held tense talks with Netanyahu and the war cabinet.

Observers present said more than 100 people attended the nearly three-hour meeting. Some relatives shouted at cabinet members, perceiving they did not have any immediate plans to rescue some 138 hostages still captive. Nearly half the room left in disappointment before the meeting ended.

Levy said that Prime Minister Netanyahu “reaffirmed,” the families adding “Israel will spare no effort to return their loved ones.”

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