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Israeli Defense Minister Announces that Israel has Stepped Up Military Offensive in Gaza

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday said Hamas terrorists captured by troops said "the group is collapsing from within" as Israel steps up its military offensive in the Gaza Strip. 

"In the last week or two, hundreds of terrorists have been captured and what they say about what happened to them tells the whole story. They say that Hamas is collapsing from within, the price they are paying is very heavy," Gallant said, The Times of Israel reported. 

"We’re going to eliminate everyone who was involved in the events of October 7, the junior [officials], the senior ones and the very senior ones; those who were inside [Israel] or who gave instructions," he said, referring to the date of Palestinian terror group Hamas’s massive attack on Israel that started the ongoing conflict.

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant meets with troops

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant meets soldiers on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on Oct. 19, 2023 in Sderot, Israel. Over the weekend, Gallant said captured Hamas fighters have told Israeli troops that Hamas is "collapsing from within" as Israel continues to bombardment of the Gaza Strip.  (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The Israel Defense Forces said over the weekend that its troops seized a cache of weapons concealed in the maternity ward of Shifa Hospital, where a raid on the facility to target Hamas terrorists was entering its third week. Weapons found included mortars, explosive devices, sniper rifles, assault rifles, handguns and other military equipment hidden inside patient pillows and beds, according to the IDF.

Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that troops would invade the city of Rafah in southern Gaza. The promise comes amid concerns from the Biden administration about Israeli military operations and the mounting civilian casualties. 

Netanyahu, 74, said he had approved the IDF’s "operational plan" for Rafah, saying the force was "prepared for the evacuation of the civilian population and for the provision of humanitarian assistance."

Palestinian man in Rafah near a border crossing

A Palestinian man gestures outside Rafah border crossing demanding to travel for treatment. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

"This is the right thing both operationally and internationally," he said. "This will take time but it will be done. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there for one simple reason: There is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating the Hamas battalions there." 

Netanyahu has said there can be no victory without a military ground offensive in Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than half of the territory's population of 2.3 million now shelters after fleeing fighting elsewhere. 

The Biden administration and Israel were expected to hold a virtual meeting Monday to discuss Rafah. Netanyahu had canceled a previous set of meetings in Washington after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages. 

Al-Shifa hospital

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP)

The White House has said a military operation in Rafah could result in mass civilian casualties and exacerbate an already dire humanitarian crisis


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