Israel says Gaza war to continue throughout 2024, preparing for ‘prolonged fighting’

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Israel’s war in Gaza will continue throughout 2024, a military spokesman said, insisting that the country was preparing for “prolonged fighting” against Hamas militants.

“The IDF (Israeli army) must plan ahead, understanding that we will be required for additional tasks and warfare throughout this year,” Daniel Hagari told reporters late on Sunday.

“The objectives of the war require prolonged fighting and we are preparing accordingly.”

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The war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip, erupted after Hamas fighters carried out a deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The attack left around 1,140 people dead in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Some 250 people were also taken hostage by militants. The Israeli army says 129 people still remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s retaliatory land, sea and air assault on Gaza has so far killed at least 21,987 people, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Hagari said the army was currently “planning the management of the forces operating in the field” in the months ahead.

Hagari said some of the 300,000 army reservists would get a break from the conflict, with Israel seeking to boost its war-hit economy.

“Some of the reservists will return to their families and employment this week,” he said.

“This will significantly ease the burden on the economy and allow them to gather strength for the upcoming activities in the next year, as the fighting will continue and they will still be required.”

Since the ground operation began on October 27 in Gaza, the army has lost 172 soldiers inside the Palestinian coastal territory, including some in friendly fire incidents.

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