The head of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Sunday that he expects Israel to continue its brutal assault on the Gaza Strip all year.
“The year 2024 will be challenging. We will be at war in Gaza,” said IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi during a visit to the West Bank. “I don’t know if it will be all year long. We will be fighting in Gaza all year, that’s for sure, and this will also hold the other arenas, certainly in [the West Bank], to a certain state of alertness.”
Halevi also warned of the possibility of “another war” in Lebanon as cross-border strikes between Hezbollah and the IDF have increased since Israel launched a drone strike in Beirut that killed a senior Hamas official last week.
On Saturday, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said moving forward, Israel would be focusing its operations in Gaza on the central and southern portion of the Strip, where most of the 2.3 million Palestinians who live in the enclave are located after many fleed Israel’s bombardment in the north.
Hagari signaled Israeli operations in the north might wind down, claiming Israel has dismantled the “military framework” of Hamas in the area. He said there continues to be fighting but that Hamas had been left “without a framework and without commanders.”
“Now, we are focusing on dismantling Hamas in the central and southern Gaza Strip. We will do this differently, thoroughly, based on the lessons we have learned from the fighting so far,” Hagari said.
According to the latest numbers from Gaza’s Health Ministry, nearly 23,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7, mostly women and children. As the siege continues, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are at risk of dying of starvation or disease. Despite the horrific situation on the ground, the US continues to provide unconditional military support for Israel.