Shafaq News / The British newspaper "Financial Times" revealed on Friday Israel's plan for a military campaign against Hamas that may extend for a year or more, with the ongoing most intense phase of the ground assault until early 2024.
Citing several informed sources about the preparations, as reported by "Russia Today", the newspaper explained, "The multi-stage strategy envisions the Israeli forces, stationed inside northern Gaza, conducting an imminent incursion deep into the besieged southern Palestinian strip."
"Financial Times", quoting a senior Israeli military official, affirmed that "the Israeli army still considers the operations in northern Gaza incomplete."
The Israeli military official stated, "Gaza has not been entirely invaded yet; only about 40% has been completed," adding, "As for the northern sector, it might require a period of two weeks to a month," elaborating that "the ground assault on southern Gaza will occur in parallel with operations in the north."
According to the British newspaper, the objectives include the elimination of three senior Hamas leaders, Yahya al-Sinwar, Mohammed Dheif, and Marwan Issa, while achieving a decisive military victory against the 'Al-Qassam Brigades', Hamas' military wing, and destroying the underground tunnel network.
One insider familiar with Israeli war plans commented, "This will be an extremely long war (...) we have not even approached the halfway mark to achieve our goals."
The sources indicated that Israel's comprehensive strategy towards Gaza emphasizes flexibility, balancing operational progress on the ground with international pressures and opportunities to release Israeli hostages.
The ongoing renewed ground operation might require several more months, entering the new year, according to those familiar with Israeli military preparations. One of them remarked, "It will not take weeks, but more than that." Following this, there will be a phase of "transition and stabilization" with reduced military actions, potentially extending until late 2024, with the location of Israeli ground forces during this stage remaining unclear.
Unlike previous Israeli military operations and wars, an Israeli official highlighted that there will not be a fixed endpoint. He stated, "There will not be a clear-cut judgment where it ends."
According to the British newspaper's sources, Israel is currently rejecting discussions regarding the possibility of transferring control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian National Authority.
Israel and Hamas have traded accusations of undermining the humanitarian ceasefire lasting for seven days, which included the release of several Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners, along with the delivery of humanitarian aid and fuel to the besieged territory.