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Israel Vows To Continue Gaza Operations Despite Deadly Ambush

Story Highlights
  • The US wants Abbas's internationally recognized Palestinian Authority to run both Gaza and parts of the West Bank that Israel occupies.
  • Netanyahu's government is strongly against the Palestinians becoming their own country and has said it will keep security control over Gaza indefinitely.

As more countries call for a cease-fire and the United States expresses concern, Israel has promised to keep fighting in Gaza until it defeats Hamas. This comes after one of the deadliest single battles of the war for Israeli soldiers.

The ambush was a fresh reminder that Hamas can still fight after six weeks of terrible fighting meant to destroy its military. Israel has completely cut off Gaza and destroyed a lot of the area on the ground and in the air, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes.

Because Hamas is so strong, it’s not clear if Israel can beat them without wiping out Gaza. Palestinian support for Hamas has grown, in part because the militant group has been so tough in its fight against a much stronger enemy. At the same time, Israel’s most important ally, the US, is becoming more and more upset about the deaths of civilians in what is already one of the worst military campaigns of the 21st century.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Wednesday, “There is no question that we will keep going until the end.” “I say this even though it hurts a lot and there is pressure from around the world.” We won’t let anything stop us.

Jake Sullivan, who is the U.S. National Security Adviser, was going to visit Israel on Thursday. We have asked Israel to do more to protect civilians, and earlier this week, President Joe Biden said that Israel was losing support around the world because it was “indiscriminately bombing.”

The ambush happened on Tuesday in Shijaiyah, a crowded area of Gaza City that was also the site of a major battle in the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. Two high-ranking officers were among the dead. There have been 116 deaths in the ground offensive since it began on October 27.

Heavy fighting has been going on for days in Shijaiyah and other areas in and around eastern Gaza City that were in the middle of the earlier fighting. Many people have been told to leave the north, but tens of thousands of them stay because they don’t feel safe anywhere in Gaza or are afraid they will never go back to their homes if they leave.


The Israeli air and ground attack, which happened after Hamas’s first attack on southern Israel on October 7, killed more than 18,600 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, which is run by Hamas.

The ministry doesn’t make a difference between deaths of civilians and deaths in battle. Its most recent count didn’t say how many were women and children, but in previous counts, they have always made up about two-thirds of the dead. A lot more people are missing and thought to be dead under the rubble.

Nearly 1.9 million Palestinians have been forced to leave their homes. Most of them have found safety in the south, but Israel has continued to attack what it calls “terrorist targets” all over the territory, killing women and children most of the time.

In Rafah, the town at the southernmost end of the Egyptian border, people said they heard Israeli airstrikes overnight. A reporter for the Associated Press saw 27 bodies being taken to a nearby hospital early Thursday morning.

As troops pushed into the southern city of Khan Younis earlier this month, new evacuation orders were issued. These have made U.N.-run shelters overcrowded and forced people to set up tent camps in places that are even less comfortable.

Recent days of heavy rain and cold have made their lives even worse by flooding tent camps and forcing families to gather around fires to stay warm.

Israel has blocked all but a small amount of humanitarian aid from getting into Gaza. Since the offensive spread to the south, fighting and road closures have made it hard for U.N. agencies to get the aid to the people who need it. Since the war began, almost no help has made it to the north.


Israel may have hoped that the war and its hardships would make Palestinians hate Hamas and bring about the group’s demise faster. However, as with previous rounds of violence, it looks like the opposite is happening.

The number of people in the occupied West Bank who supported Hamas rose from 12% in September to 44% in a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. In Gaza, 42% of people supported the militants, up from 38% three months ago.

In both places, that’s still a small group. But many Palestinians who don’t agree with Hamas’s goal of destroying Israel still support its attacks on civilians because they see it as a way to fight Israel’s occupation of land they want for a future state.

The poll also showed that most people did not support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is backed by the West; nearly 90% said he should step down. People in the Palestinian territories see the 88-year-old leader’s government as corrupt and autocratic because it works with Israel to suppress Hamas and other militant groups.

The US wants Abbas’s internationally recognized Palestinian Authority to run both Gaza and parts of the West Bank that Israel occupies. In 2007, Hamas took over Gaza from the PA. The US also wants to bring back the long-abandoned peace process to talk about making a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s government is strongly against the Palestinians becoming their own country and has said it will keep security control over Gaza indefinitely.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, said late Wednesday that any plans for Gaza that don’t include Hamas are a “illusion and mirage.” He also said that the group is willing to stop fighting. People say that Haniyeh was in Qatar when he said those things, but it’s not clear where he was.

Israelis are still very much in favor of the war because they think it is the only way to stop another attack like the one on October 7 when Hamas broke through the country’s strong defenses. In southern Israel that day, Palestinian militants attacked several towns and killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostage.

Last month, during a week-long cease-fire, about half of the hostages were freed. Most of them were women and children. In exchange, Israel freed 240 Palestinian prisoners.

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