Israel says troops have pushed into 'Heart of' Gaza City

Global Watch

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday that Israel Defense Forces are now operating in Gaza City, the center of Hamas’ operations, as Israel’s war against the militant group intensifies.

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“We are in the heart of Gaza City,” Gallant told reporters. “Gaza is the largest terrorist base ever built.”

Gallant also affirmed that when the war is over neither Hamas nor Israel would rule the enclave, home to 2.2 million Palestinians. Gaza has been pounded with airstrikes since Hamas’ October 7 terror attack on Israel.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would consider short-term pauses in military operations to allow for humanitarian goods to reach the Gaza Strip or for hostages held by Hamas militants to leave, but he ruled out a general cease-fire in Israel’s month-old war with Hamas.

Palestinians evacuate survivors after Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 7, 2023.

Palestinians evacuate survivors after Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 7, 2023.

Speaking to ABC News, Netanyahu said he envisions Israel will “have the overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an indefinite period after achieving its goal of routing Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group.

"When we don't have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn't imagine,” Netanyahu said.

Israel says Hamas is holding more than 240 hostages taken during its October 7 attack that killed 1,400 people.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said the death toll from Israeli attacks has surpassed 10,000.

The White House said Monday that President Joe Biden and Netanyahu discussed in a phone call the possibility for tactical pauses to allow civilians in Gaza to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting, to ensure assistance is reaching civilians in need, and how to enable potential hostage releases.

A woman attends a rally outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem to put pressure on the government to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, Nov. 7, 2023.

A woman attends a rally outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem to put pressure on the government to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, Nov. 7, 2023.

Biden reiterated his steadfast support for Israel in its fight against Hamas while also emphasizing the imperative to protect Palestinian civilians and reduce civilian harm during military operations. He also addressed the situation in the West Bank and the need to hold extremist settlers accountable for violent acts.

U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said the U.S. has now helped more than 400 of its citizens, lawful permanent residents and “other eligible individuals” exit Gaza.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that on Monday 50 trucks carrying food, medicine, health supplies, bottled water and hygiene products crossed from Egypt into Gaza. This brings the number of trucks that have entered Gaza since October 21 to 526. The entry of fuel remains banned by Israeli authorities.

The Israel-Hamas conflict was on the agenda as foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations began two days of talks in Japan.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would brief his counterparts about his four-day tour of the Middle East that included stops in Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Cyprus, Iraq and Turkey.

Blinken in Japan for G7; Gaza War Set to be a Focus

At a virtual briefing Monday, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby expressed hope that humanitarian pauses will be implemented as soon as possible in Gaza.

He said the United States will continue this conversation with the Israelis for as long as it takes and said there are some indications that efforts are being made to minimize collateral damage in Gaza. But he cautioned, “I don’t want to overstate that.”

Kirby said many thousands of innocent people have been killed, adding “each one's a tragedy” and “we don’t want to see any innocent lives taken.”

He said the U.S. is doing everything it can to urge Israeli leaders to be as cautious as possible in military operations. But he reminded that Israel also is up against an enemy hiding behind civilians.

Israel has denied deliberately targeting innocent Palestinians in Gaza, saying Hamas uses civilians as human shields, dug tunnels under hospitals and was transporting its fighters in ambulances.

Palestinians evacuate survivors after Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 7, 2023.

Palestinians evacuate survivors after Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 7, 2023.

Jordan, meanwhile, said Monday it was leaving "all options" open on how to respond to what it called Israel’s failure to discriminate between military and civilian targets in its intensifying bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh did not elaborate on what steps Jordan would take. Jordan has recalled its ambassador from Israel to protest Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

"All options are on the table for Jordan in our dealing with the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its repercussions," Khasawneh, whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, told state media.

Source: VOA 

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