Israel tells US Gaza war will last months

Israel tells US Gaza war will last months

Shafaq News/ Israel pounded the length of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing families in their homes even as Washington sent an envoy to demand its ally to guard better against civilian casualties in its war against Hamas.

The more than two-month war is now raging across the entire Palestinian enclave, causing a humanitarian catastrophe, with little end in sight.

"It will require a long period of time - it will last more than several months - but we will win and we will destroy them," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told visiting White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

In Rafah, jammed with people in makeshift tents on Gaza's southern edge, people wept at a morgue where bodies of those killed in the latest strikes were wrapped in bloodied shrouds. Some were small children.

The adjacent homes of the Abu Dhbaa and Ashour families were obliterated and residents picked forlornly through rubble. Gaza health authorities said 26 people had been killed there.

Neighbour Fadel Shabaan had rushed to the area after the bombing.

"It was difficult because of the dust and people's screams. We went there and we saw our neighbour who had ten martyrs. This is a safe camp, there is nothing here, the children play soccer in the street," he said.

Israel has brushed off calls for a ceasefire, including a resolution at the U.N. Security Council blocked by a U.S. veto last week and another that passed overwhelmingly in the General Assembly this week.

Washington has provided diplomatic cover for its longstanding ally but expressed increasing alarm, with President Joe Biden calling Israeli bombing "indiscriminate".

Sullivan met Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu. He planned to discuss with the Israelis the need to be more accurate in strikes, spokesperson John Kirby said.


Up to 45% of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions that Israel has dropped on Gaza since Oct. 7 have been unguided "dumb bombs" according to a U.S. intelligence assessment reported by CNN.

Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, a member of Israel's security cabinet and Netanyahu's Likud party, rejected Biden's characterisation of Israel's strikes as indiscriminate.

"There is no such thing as 'dumb bombs'. Some bombs are more accurate, some bombs are less accurate. What we have is mostly pilots who are precise," he told Army Radio, saying that only militants were targeted.

Israel launched its campaign in retaliation for a rampage by Hamas, the Iran-backed group that rules Gaza, whose fighters killed 1,200 Israelis and seized 240 hostages in a cross-border raid on Oct. 7.

Since then, Israeli forces have besieged the coastal strip and laid much of it to waste, with nearly 19,000 people confirmed dead, according to Palestinian health officials, and thousands more feared buried under the rubble.

Nearly all of Gaza's 2.3 million residents have been forced from their homes, many several times.

The U.N. Palestinian Refugee Agency said hungry people were stopping trucks and eating food aid immediately. "We meet more and more people who haven't eaten for one, two or three days," Philippe Lazzarini told reporters in Geneva.

Israel has extended its ground campaign from the north to the south this month. It says it is offering warnings where it can before striking an area.

In the main southern city Khan Younis, where advancing Israeli forces reached the centre this week, a whole city block had been bombed overnight to dust. Though most people had fled after Israeli warnings, neighbours digging with a hand shovel believed four people were inside. One body had been recovered.

"May God take revenge on them," said Nesmah al-Byouk, returning to the ruins of the home she had fled three days ago. "We came and saw everything destroyed, the house, the factory, our neighbours and house are all gone. Where we can we go to now?"


In the north, including the ruins of Gaza City, fighting has escalated even after Israel announced its troops had largely completed their military objectives last month. Ten Israeli soldiers died on Tuesday including officers up to the rank of colonel, most killed in an ambush in a market area of Gaza City's Shejaiya district.

Um Mohammad, 53, a mother of seven still living in Gaza City about 1.5 km (a mile) from Shejaiya, said intensified bombing overnight indicated the Israelis were seeking vengeance. "The resistance hurt them badly there," she said.

The Israeli military said its troops had dismantled a "central operating site" of Hamas forces in a school in Shejaiya and destroyed two tunnel shafts, a rocket launch pit and a weapons storage facility in Khan Younis.

Elsewhere in the north in Jabalia, Gaza's health ministry said Israeli forces had stormed a hospital, detaining and abusing medical staff and preventing them from treating wounded patients, at least two of whom had died.

Twelve children were in the intensive care unit where the electricity had been cut and there was no milk, Gaza health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Israel's military said fighters had been operating inside the hospital, 70 of whom had now surrendered "with weapons in hand" and had been sent away for interrogation.

It released pictures of captured men marching single file outside the hospital, stripped to their waists, most in track suit bottoms and sandals. In one picture, four prisoners are shown holding rifles over their heads. Reuters could not independently reach the area.

Apart from the war in Gaza, the past few days have seen an intensification of clashes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Palestinian health ministry said at least 11 Palestinians had been killed in an ongoing raid in Jenin underway since Tuesday.

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