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Netanyahu vows long war until victory

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Israeli strikes in central Gaza killed at least 35 people Sunday, hospital officials said, as the military targeted areas in several parts of the territory a day after the country’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the war will continue for “many more months”, resisting international calls for a ceasefire. Israel’s unprecedented air and ground offensive has killed over 21,600 Palestinians, according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Israeli military also said it was battling militants in the southern city of Khan Younis, where Israel believes Hamas leaders are hiding.
The magnitude of the destruction in Gaza coupled with the war’s length has raised questions about the achievability of Israel’s goal to quash Hamas as well as about its plans for post-war Gaza. Netanyahu has said Israel must maintain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip, without saying what would come next. At a news conference Saturday, where he said the war would continue until “absolute victory”, he reiterated his intention to preserve an Israeli military foothold in a narrow strip of land in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt. “(It) must be in our hands, it must be sealed. It’s clear that any other agreement will not guarantee the demilitarisation that we need and require,” he said. Israel says Hamas has smuggled weapons in through the Egyptian border, but Egypt is likely to oppose any Israeli military presence there.

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