Fighting will continue with great might at end of ceasefire: Israeli defence minister
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday said that fighting would resume soon at the end of the ceasefire.
"This will be a short pause, at the conclusion of which the war (and) fighting will continue with great might and will generate pressure for the return of more hostages. At least two months of warfare are expected," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told naval commandos on Thursday, according to a Defence Ministry statement.
"Control over northern Gaza is the first step of a long war, and we are preparing for the next stages," Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.
Israel launched its devastating invasion of Gaza after gunmen from Hamas burst across the border fence on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Since then, Israel has rained bombs on the tiny enclave, killing some 14,000 Gazans, around 40% of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities. Hundreds of thousands of Gaza's 2.3 million people have fled their homes to escape the violence, but conditions are becoming more desperate.
"People are exhausted and are losing hope in humanity," U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA's Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on Thursday, having seen "unspeakable suffering" during a visit to Gaza.
"They need respite, they deserve to sleep without being anxious about whether they will make it through the night. This is the bare minimum anyone should be able to have."