Israeli forces continued pounding the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday even as Israel's deadly conflict with the Palestinian terrorist group - Hamas - entered the 23rd day. The Israeli military said that through ground operations, it has targeted several Hamas operatives and positions, including over 150 underground tunnels and bunkers.
At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his forces have unleashed the "second phase" of the war against Hamas in Gaza as he vowed to eliminate the enemy "above ground and below ground". Calling the war with Hamas, Israel's fight for survival, the Prime Minister said that the second stage of ground operation in Gaza would be a "long and hard" campaign. "We now face that test and I have no doubt how it will end: We will be the victors. We will do and we will be the victors," he added at the presser.
Netanyahu also said that Israel will utilise "every opportunity" to return the hostages to their "families' embrace". He called the kidnapping of Israelis and other nationals a "crime against humanity" and also called the IDF a "moral army", noting that it does not "harm non-combatants". The Israeli Prime Minister reiterated calls for north Gaza residents to head south of the region.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has also warned north Gaza residents, calling the region to be a "battlefield" as it increased its air campaign against Hamas terrorists in the Palestinian territory.
Hamas's health ministry in Gaza said on Sunday that the death toll in the strife-torn region has exceeded 8,000 since Israel's retaliatory offensive commenced there. Meanwhile, the death toll in Israel due to Hamas's surprise and unprecedented attack on October 7 stands at 1,400.
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