An Israeli army chief has warned that the war will “continue for many more months”, vowing to keep up their offensive until “Hamas is destroyed” as dozens of more Palestinians are killed in new strikes.
Israel’s military chief Herzi Halevi said that the war on Gaza “will go on for many months” as occupation forces continued their indiscriminate bombing and shelling of the Gaza Strip, killing dozens of Palestinians.
At least five casualties were reported in the Maghazi refugee camp after the Israeli army targeted the Secondary Girls School where many displaced people were seeking refuge.
The Al-Bureij and Al-Nuseirat camps were also struck by Israeli shelling, Palestinian media reported, killing and wounding dozens.
“The war will go on for many months and we will employ different methods to maintain our achievements for a long time,” Halevi told reporters in a televised address.
“We will reach Hamas’ leadership too, whether it takes a week or if it takes months,” he said.
The Israeli genocide in Gaza has persisted for more than three months, with the occupation forces carrying out relentless bombardments and field executions across the besieged enclave.
As of Wednesday morning, Israel has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza while injuring around 54,000 others, according to Palestine’s news agency, Wafa.
The Euro-Med monitor believes Israel has killed 28,091 – a figure that includes those believed to be still under the rubble. The European agency has not updated the figure since December 23.
Israel has long cited the surprise Hamas operation of October 7, known as “Operation Al Aqsa Flood,” as the pretext for its war.
The operation saw the Al-Qassam Brigades – Hamas’ armed wing – infiltrate the occupied territories through air, land and sea while returning to Gaza with at least 240 captives.
Al-Qassam said at the time that the operation was in response to the increased raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and settler violence towards Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then vowed to turn Gaza “into rubble” hours after the operation and has since rejected global calls for a ceasefire. Tel Aviv believes a ceasefire would disrupt its attempts to eliminate Hamas, a goal that analysts have widely described as unrealistic.
“We said from its first moments that this would be a long war because it was right to set far-reaching goals and we will reach far, that’s why the duration will be long,” Halevi added.
The Al-Qassam Brigades have been fighting an intense battle across Gaza against Israeli forces on the ground since it launched the ground invasion on October 27. As of Tuesday, Al-Qassam has killed at least 495 members of the Israeli occupation forces since October 7.
Israel has also killed an unspecified number of captives in Gaza and admitted “mistakenly” killing three on December 15. It has since agreed to return to negotiations over another pause, after pulling out its negotiators on December 2.
Talks appeared to gain momentum last week with Israel’s prime minister saying on December 16 that he was still speaking to Qatar and Egypt “regarding negotiations to release the hostages.”
Egypt had reportedly proposed another truce on Monday that would see a seven-to-10-day pause to allow the release of more Israeli and foreign captives from Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, multiple reports said, including Al Jazeera.
The proposal was reportedly drafted with Qatar, the Doha-based broadcaster reported, though the Gulf state has not publicly commented on the matter. The deal includes facilitating another exchange between Hamas and Israel and a seven-to-10-day pause in fighting.
Qatar and Egypt brokered a week-long pause in Gaza to enable the release of Israeli and foreign captives from Hamas between November 24 and December 1.
The pause led to the release of 110 Israeli and foreign captives from Gaza, according to a Doha News tally. As part of the deal, Israel released 240 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.