Israeli official: Killing Hamas leader is key

Israeli official: Killing Hamas leader is key

Dec. 11, 2023, 6:37 a.m.

A senior Israeli official has hinted that assassinating the leader of Hamas in Gaza is the key to achieving the goals of the war. The comment comes as media outlets say the military operation in the enclave is likely to continue for a long time.

Israel's National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi spoke to local media outlets on Saturday. He explained what the Israeli military wants to accomplish in the Gaza Strip.

Hanegbi suggested that it is imperative for the forces to kill the chief of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar. The Israeli official believes doing so will make Sinwar's successors realize that they need to flee Gaza and save their own lives.

A Japanese expert on the Middle East spoke to NHK about the matter. Suzuki Hiroyuki is a project associate professor at the University of Tokyo. He said Hanegbi indicated that killing the leader will pave the way for Israel to eradicate Hamas. He noted that is one of the country's goals.

"The comment is likely an attempt to explain why Israel is continuing to fight in Gaza. It may also be an attempt to bring an end to the hostilities," Suzuki said.

The Israeli military reported on Sunday that it had carried out 250 airstrikes in Gaza in the previous 24 hours. Israeli troops are stepping up their offensives in Khan Younis. They suspect that Yahya Sinwar is hiding in the city.

Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi is the Israeli military's chief of staff. He said, "These days we are seeing terrorists surrender. That's a sign Hamas's system is disintegrating."

Some Israeli officials have indicated that they see light at the end of the tunnel, as far as the fighting is concerned.

Professor Suzuki said, "The Israeli military has called up a number of reservists, and the major military operation is costing the country a lot. It is reasonable to think Israel does not want the fighting to go on indefinitely."

But right now Sinwar's exact whereabouts are unknown. It is also unclear at this point if a ceasefire can be achieved.

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