After the siege and air strikes, Israel continued to expand its ground attack campaign in the Gaza Strip with the ultimate goal of destroying Hamas forces.
“We are in the middle of a war. We have set a clear goal of destroying the military capacity and control of Hamas (in Gaza),” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 30.
The Israeli leader added: “The first phase of siege has been completed. The second phase is continuous air strikes. The third phase is now the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expanding the offensive campaign.” on land in Gaza. This campaign was implemented fiercely, methodically and achieved step by step.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also made clear yesterday that Israel will not accept a ceasefire.
“I want to make clear Israel’s position regarding a ceasefire. Just as the United States did not cease fire after the attack on Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Israel will not agree to end hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attack on October 7. A ceasefire or surrender to Hamas will not happen. Now is the time of war,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
The Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on October 7 after Hamas suddenly fired more than 2,000 rockets toward Israel and captured more than 200 hostages and brought them to Gaza.
Not long after, the Israeli army declared a siege on Gaza, temporarily stopping the supply of electricity and water to this territory of more than 2 million people. Israel also launched an unprecedented large-scale air campaign against Hamas targets in Gaza.
Since last week, Israeli soldiers, supported by tanks, have carried out lightning raids into Gaza. The IDF did not release details about how deep Israeli forces advanced into Gaza, but some sources said they advanced about 3km.
Guardian reported that fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas forces took place in the south and northwest of the Gaza Strip when Israeli tanks and other armored vehicles entered Gaza City early on the morning of October 31.
The al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, said the group had fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli forces in the south as well as Israeli tanks and bulldozers in the northwest.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said it killed four high-ranking Hamas agents in a raid earlier this week. Israel announced that it will continue to expand its ground offensive against Gaza. In the past 24 hours, Israel has struck more than 300 Hamas targets, including underground targets.
However, military experts say that Israel still maintains a slow pace of attack partly because it leaves open the possibility that Hamas will agree to negotiate the release of the hostages. To date, Hamas has only released 4 hostages, including 2 American citizens and 2 Israeli citizens. In addition, the Israeli army said it had rescued the country’s first female soldier hostage.
Israeli officials predict this conflict with Hamas will be a difficult and long war and Tel Aviv is prepared for this situation.
Fighting over the past three weeks has left more than 8,000 people in Gaza and more than 1,400 people in Israel dead. This is the most serious conflict between Israel and Hamas in recent decades.