Netanyahu Vows Not to Let Up in War Against Hamas

Web Staff
By Web Staff
December 25, 2023Middle East
Netanyahu Vows Not to Let Up in War Against Hamas
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defense, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Dec. 24, 2023. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool via Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to keep up the fight against Hamas terrorists.

Mr. Netanyahu visited Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday.

“We are not stopping. The war will continue until the end, until we finish it, no less,” Mr. Netanyahu said during the Gaza visit.

Retaliating against the Hamas terrorist group for its deadly Oct. 7 cross-border rampage, Israel has been under pressure from its closest ally the United States to shift operations in Gaza to a lower-intensity phase and reduce civilian deaths.

But Mr. Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud party that the war was far from over and dismissed what he cast as media speculation his government might call a halt to the fighting. He said Israel would not succeed in freeing its remaining hostages without applying military pressure.

Hamas and smaller terrorist ally Islamic Jihad, both sworn to Israel’s destruction, are believed to be holding more than 100 hostages from among 240 they captured during their Oct. 7 rampage through Israeli towns when they killed 1,200 people.

Strikes that began hours before midnight persisted into Christmas Day on Monday.

At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in central Gaza, health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said.

Medics said an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed 23, bringing total Palestinian fatalities overnight to more than 100.

The Israeli military said on Monday two of its soldiers had died in the last day, bringing to 158 the number killed since ground operations began on Oct. 20.

The Israeli army said it was reviewing the report of a Maghazi incident and was committed to minimizing harm to civilians. Israel says Hamas operates in densely populated areas and uses civilians as human shields, which Hamas denies.

On Saturday, Israel’s military chief of staff said his forces had largely achieved operational control in the north of Gaza and would expand operations further in the south.

Diplomatic efforts, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, on a new truce to free the remaining hostages held in Gaza have yielded little public progress.

Bethlehem Celebrations Cancelled

Christian clergy canceled celebrations in Bethlehem, the West Bank city where Christian tradition says Jesus was born in a stable 2,000 years ago.

Palestinian Christians held a candle-lit Christmas vigil in Bethlehem with hymns and prayers for peace in Gaza.

There was no large tree, the usual centerpiece of Bethlehem’s Christmas observances. Nativity figurines in churches were placed among rubble and barbed wire in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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