Israel’s Chief of Staff approves continuation of Gaza war

Tel Aviv, April 22 (IANS/DPA) Israeli Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, has approved plans to continue the war in Gaza, the military said.

Halevi “authorised the further steps” on Sunday, army spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

The Israeli Kan channel reported that part of the plans included a military operation in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on the border with Egypt. An evacuation of the civilian population is apparently to be expected shortly.

Israel’s allies have urgently warned against an offensive in Rafah because hundreds of thousands of Palestinian internally displaced people are crowded there.

However, Israel considers an operation in Rafah to be necessary to destroy the remaining battalions of the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas. Otherwise, a reinvigoration of Hamas is to be expected.

The Israeli army spokesman addressed the hostages held by Hamas directly on Sunday.

“We will continue to fight until you come home,” he said.

The relatives of the hostages were in an unbearable situation and everything would be done to free their loved ones, he added.

According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, more than 34,000 people have been killed and almost 77,000 others injured in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war six-and-a-half months ago.



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