Netanyahu says intense fighting in Gaza to end ‘very soon’

Jerusalem, June 24 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that intense fighting against Hamas is “very close” to an end.

In an interview with Israeli Channel 14 TV news, Netanyahu on Sunday said that “the intensive phase of the war in Rafah is about to end”, and the Israeli forces were “very close” to concluding the “intensive phase” in the entire Gaza Strip.

However, he said, this does not mean an end to the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, and operations will persist with the fighting against Hamas targets, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Israeli news broadcaster.

After the conclusion of the “intensive phase” in Gaza, “we will continue northward,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s warnings of launching a full-fledged war against the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

He said that any agreement to secure a ceasefire along the Israel-Lebanon border, where Israeli and Hezbollah forces have traded fire since October 7, 2023, “will have to meet our terms.”

He stated he would only agree to a deal that would see Hamas removed from power in the Gaza Strip and the release of about 100 hostages who are still held in the Palestinian enclave.

–IANS

int/sha

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