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Israel expects difficult new stage in Gaza, sticks to war aims - spokesperson

Published 12/05/2023, 05:26 AM
Updated 12/05/2023, 05:31 AM
© Reuters. An Israeli flag flies on a military vehicle as the Israeli army operates at the border with Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmeth

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel expects difficult fighting in the new phase of its war in Gaza but is open to "constructive feedback" on reducing harm to civilians as long as the advice is consistent with its aim of destroying Hamas, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"We're moving ahead with the second stage now. A second stage that is going to be difficult militarily," spokesperson Eylon Levy told reporters.

Israeli forces have begun operating in the southern area of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, where the population has been swollen by around 1 million refugees from northern areas and has faced heavy international pressure, including from Washington, to limit civilian casualties.

"Any constructive feedback that we get, any serious military strategic advice about how to target Hamas while minimizing harm to civilians, we will of course mention," Levy said.

But he said the advice had to be in line with the aim of destroying the Palestinians militant group.

© Reuters. An Israeli flag flies on a military vehicle as the Israeli army operates at the border with Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

"We are going to continue with our campaign to destroy Hamas, a campaign that the United States sees eye to eye with us about the strategic objectives of this war, that this war cannot end with Hamas still standing," he said.

Levy said Israel was making many efforts to reduce harm to civilians. "We didn't pick the battlefield, Hamas picked the battlefield," he said.

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