Monday March 04, 2024

Israel vows to intensify fighting in Gaza despite daily humanitarian pause

Published : 10 Nov 2023, 00:42

  DF News Desk
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on Nov. 9, 2023. Photo: Xinhua.

Israel vowed on Thursday that its forces would keep intensifying the fighting in the heart of Gaza City in the next few days, despite the implementation of a four-hour daily humanitarian pause, reported Xinhua.

Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Herzi Halevi toured the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday with Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet internal security agency. They were shown in videos released by the military sitting inside a moving tank and later talking with commanders in a dimly lit room.

Halevi asked the commanders to "advance with strength, in a systematic manner, and increase your pace."

In another development, a White House spokesman announced that Israel has agreed to implement four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in its attacks on northern Gaza, starting Thursday.

However, Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a press briefing that the pauses are "local and limited" to specific places in the northern Gaza Strip.

He emphasized that this does not constitute a ceasefire and that Israel "will not halt the fighting as long as there are hostages in Gaza and we haven't achieved our mission: the fall of Hamas."

In a separate press briefing, IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the military began on Wednesday to implement "local, tactical, and time-limited pauses" in the fighting to facilitate the movement of civilians to the south. He added that about 50,000 civilians moved to the south on Thursday.

Hagari said that in the next few days, the forces will intensify the fighting "in the heart of Gaza City," adding that Hamas "has lost control of the northern Gaza Strip."

Meanwhile, Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, announced in a statement that it was prepared to release two hostages for humanitarian reasons.

The statement in Arabic identified the two hostages as "Hanna Katsir and the boy Yagil Yaqoub," without specifying their nationalities.

In Eilat, a popular Red Sea resort city that has been targeted by Yemen's Houthi forces several times since the beginning of the conflict, a drone hit a school building. Israel's Magen David Adom rescue service said a 20-year-old man was lightly injured by smoke, and five schoolchildren were treated for hysteria.

A few hours later, air raid sirens were activated after a surface-to-surface missile was launched toward Eilat from the Red Sea. The missile was intercepted some 100 meters off Eilat by Israel's "Arrow" aerial defense system, the military said.

In the refugee camp of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces killed at least 15 Palestinians and wounded 20 others, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

So far 10,818 people have been killed in Gaza by Israel's relentless strikes, according to the Gaza-based Hamas health ministry.

Hamas launched surprise attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, killing hundreds of Israelis and kidnapping about 240 people. According to the Israeli police, the bodies of at least 870 civilians and 354 members of security forces have been identified.