War between Israel and Hamas will continue, says military chief

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas is set to continue for an extended period, according to Israel’s military chief.

During a televised statement on Tuesday, Israel’s Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi emphasized that the battle between Israel and Hamas would endure “for many months” and acknowledged the absence of quick fixes in dismantling a terrorist organization.

He stressed the necessity of unwavering determination and persistent combat, adding that Hamas’ leadership would be targeted, regardless of the time required.

Notably, Israeli activities intensified around the Christmas period, particularly in a central region located just south of the temporary waterway dividing the Gaza Strip. Civilian evacuation was advised by the Israeli army, although many expressed difficulties in finding safe havens.

Expressing grave concerns, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Seif Magango criticized the persistent bombardment by Israeli forces in the Middle Gaza area. He called on Israeli forces to take every available measure to protect civilians and emphasized that warning and evacuation orders did not absolve them from their responsibilities under international humanitarian law.

Despite global pleas for a ceasefire in the 11-week-long war, Israel remains determined to eliminate Hamas. This decision follows Hamas’ deadliest attack on Israeli history, on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people and the capture of 240 hostages. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a relentless assault that has devastated much of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

According to Palestinian health authorities, the Israeli strikes have caused nearly 21,000 casualties, with many feared to be trapped under rubble. As a result, the majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants have been displaced from their homes, often multiple times.

On Tuesday, Gaza authorities buried the bodies of 80 unidentified Palestinians, provided by Israel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to the health ministry.

These bodies were recovered from the northern part of the Gaza Strip and laid to rest in a mass grave at a cemetery in Rafah, located in the south. The Gaza Islamic Waqf documented the burials, with plans to identify the deceased through later analysis of photographs.

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