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Israel says Gaza war may take another seven months

Israeli tanks conducted raids into Rafah saying the conflict with Hamas in Gaza could extend for another seven months.

Israeli tanks penetrated deep into Rafah on Tuesday despite an International Court of Justice order to cease attacks on the city, a refuge for many Palestinians fleeing bombardments elsewhere.

The World Court criticized Israel for not detailing measures to ensure the safety and provision of necessities like food, water, and medicine for Rafah evacuees. It also demanded that Hamas immediately and unconditionally release hostages taken from Israel on October 7.

Residents of Rafah reported that Israeli tanks advanced into Tel Al-Sultan in the west, Yibna, and areas near Shaboura in the center, before withdrawing to a buffer zone along the Egyptian border, unlike in previous operations where they remained.

“We received distress calls from residents in Tel Al-Sultan where drones targeted displaced citizens moving towards safer areas,” said Haitham al Hams, the deputy director of ambulance and emergency services in Rafah.

Palestinian health officials reported that 19 civilians were killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling across Gaza. Israel claims that Hamas militants hide among civilians, a charge denied by the Islamist group governing Gaza.

Health Minister Majed Abu Raman called on Washington to pressure Israel into opening the Rafah crossing for aid, stressing the urgency as patients in besieged Gaza die due to lack of treatment, with no sign of Israeli compliance.

An Israeli military official stated that Israeli forces had achieved tactical control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a buffer zone along the Gaza-Egypt border, which National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi noted would prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Hanegbi added that fighting in Gaza would persist through at least 2024, signaling Israel’s unwillingness to cease the war as demanded by Hamas in exchange for hostages held by the group.

“The fighting in Rafah is not futile,” Hanegbi emphasized, asserting that the goal was to end Hamas rule in Gaza and prevent attacks on Israel by Hamas and its allies.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need for Israel to develop a post-war plan for Gaza to avoid chaos and a potential Hamas resurgence.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, reiterated its opposition to a major ground offensive in Rafah while noting it did not perceive such an operation was in progress.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported over 36,000 Palestinian deaths due to Israel’s offensive. Israel initiated the air and ground campaign following an October 7 attack by Hamas-led militants on southern Israeli communities, which resulted in around 1,200 Israeli deaths and over 250 hostages taken, according to Israeli counts.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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