Israel In 'Second Stage Of War' Against Hamas: PM aNetanyahu

Israel In 'Second Stage Of War' Against Hamas: PM aNetanyahu

Oct. 29, 2023, 8:10 a.m.

As sirens sounded in central Israel on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the second stage of the campaign to destroy Hamas had begun with an expanding ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

Projecting an image of unity alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz at a Tel Aviv press conference, Netanyahu announced: “This is the second stage of the war whose goals are clear – to destroy Hamas’ governing and military capabilities and to bring the hostages home.”

He added that the decision to begin ground operations had been made unanimously, both by the war cabinet and the security cabinet.

October 28, 2023. (Dana Kopel/POOL)

As sirens sounded in central Israel on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the second stage of the campaign to destroy Hamas had begun with an expanding ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

Projecting an image of unity alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz at a Tel Aviv press conference, Netanyahu announced: “This is the second stage of the war whose goals are clear – to destroy Hamas’ governing and military capabilities and to bring the hostages home.”

He added that the decision to begin ground operations had been made unanimously, both by the war cabinet and the security cabinet.

“Broadening the ground offensive does not clash in any way with our ability to return the hostages,” he argued.

He was also asked about a potential “all for all” deal that would see all hostages freed and all Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails released, a notion Hamas leaders have increasingly called for.

October 28, 2023. (Dana Kopel/POOL)

As sirens sounded in central Israel on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the second stage of the campaign to destroy Hamas had begun with an expanding ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

Projecting an image of unity alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz at a Tel Aviv press conference, Netanyahu announced: “This is the second stage of the war whose goals are clear – to destroy Hamas’ governing and military capabilities and to bring the hostages home.”

He added that the decision to begin ground operations had been made unanimously, both by the war cabinet and the security cabinet.

“Broadening the ground offensive does not clash in any way with our ability to return the hostages,” he argued.

He was also asked about a potential “all for all” deal that would see all hostages freed and all Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails released, a notion Hamas

“We are discussing the issue,” he said, without going into details, and added that he cannot share intelligence and considerations that the cabinet is debating. Discussing the terms of a potential deal publicly “will not help to realize” one, he added.

Ground forces, including infantry, combat engineering forces and tanks, entered Gaza on Friday night and remained there on Saturday, operating deeper inside the Hamas-run territory than previous limited incursions.

“Our commanders and soldiers fighting in enemy territory know that the nation and the national leadership stand behind them,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu spoke at a news conference on Saturday after Israel announced the expansion of its ground operation in Gaza on Friday. Israel has also been unleashing severe airstrikes, mainly on northern parts of the Palestinian territory.

Netanyahu said additional Israeli ground forces entered Gaza on Friday night. He said Israel is "only at the beginning of the battle," which he expects to be "difficult and long."

The prime minister also said it is Israel's "second war of independence," and that its troops are trying to ensure Israel's "existence in its land."

Meanwhile on Saturday, relatives of hostages held by Hamas militants staged a rally with their supporters in Israel's largest commercial city of Tel Aviv.

They demanded an early release of the hostages and the implementation of a ceasefire. They also prayed for the safety of the hostages as the Israeli military intensified airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza.

One demonstrator voiced concern over the fate of her friend who is among the hostages. She called on the Israeli government to do everything in its power to secure the immediate release of all of the captives.

Hamas militants took some 230 people hostage, including non-Israelis, as part of their surprise attack on Israel on October 7. Qatar is mediating negotiations for their release. But the talks are reportedly facing difficulty.

At least 1,400 people have been killed on the Israeli side since the conflict began.

Health officials in Gaza said on Saturday that the death toll in the Palestinian territory had climbed to 7,703, an increase of 377 from the previous day. But it is impossible to verify the figure as phones and other means of communications remain severed.

Source: The Times of Israel and other agencies

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