Israel vows to fight on in Gaza despite deadly ambush and growing international pressure

The ambush is a fresh reminder that Hamas is still able to fight on after a devastating six-week war aimed at crushing its military capabilities. Israel has imposed a complete siege Most of northern Gaza leveled With a massive air and ground campaign, hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes.

Hamas's resilience has raised questions about whether Israel can defeat Hamas without annexing Gaza. Hamas has received support surge among PalestiniansPartly due to the militant group's stubborn resistance to a far more powerful enemy, while Israel's most important ally, the US, expressed growing discomfort over civilian deaths in what has already been one of the most destructive military operations of the 21st century. Has expressed.

“We are continuing to the end, there is no question about that,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Wednesday. "I am saying this despite immense pain and international pressure. Nothing will stop us."

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was scheduled to visit Israel on Thursday. The US has pressured Israel to take major steps to protect civilians, and President Joe Biden said earlier this week that Israel was losing international support because of it. "Indiscriminate bombing."

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The attack took place on Tuesday in the dense Gaza City area of ​​Shijaiyah, which was also a big fight scene During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. Two high-ranking officials are also among the dead. A total of 116 soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive that began on October 27.

Heavy fighting has been going on for days in Shijaiyah and other areas around eastern Gaza City, which were previously engulfed in the war. Thousands remain in the north despite repeated evacuation orders, saying they do not feel safe anywhere in Gaza or fear they will never be able to return to their homes if they leave. .

Israel's air and ground attack in response to Hamas Unprecedented attack in southern Israel As of October 7, more than 18,600 Palestinians have died, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

Ministry doesn't differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. Its latest count does not specify how many were women and minors, but previous counts have consistently made up about two-thirds of the dead. Thousands of people are missing and feared dead under the debris.

About 1.9 million Palestinians have been driven from their homes, with the majority taking refuge in the south, while Israel continues to attack terrorist targets throughout the region, often killing women and children.

Residents reported Israeli air strikes overnight in Rafah, the southernmost city bordering Egypt. An Associated Press reporter saw 27 bodies being brought to a local hospital early Thursday.

New evacuation orders issued after troops entered the southern city of Khan Yunis earlier this month have pushed UN-run shelters to the brink of collapse and forced people to set up tent camps. Even in less hospitable areas,

Heavy rain and cold in recent days have compounded their misery, flooding tent camps and forcing families to crowd around fires to stay warm.

Israel has closed Gaza to all but a trickle of humanitarian aid, and UN agencies are struggling to deliver it after the offensive expanded into the south due to fighting and road closures. Almost no aid has reached the North since the war began.

Israel may have hoped that the war and its hardships would turn Palestinians against Hamas, thereby hastening its demise, but like previous periods of violence, it appears to have had the opposite effect.

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 44% of respondents in the occupied West Bank said they support Hamas, up from just 12% in September. In Gaza, the militants had 42% support, up from 38% three months earlier.

He is still a minority in both areas. But even many Palestinians who do not share Hamas' commitment to destroying Israel and oppose its attacks on civilians see it as protesting Israel's decades-long occupation of the land. What they want for the future state.

Meanwhile polls showed overwhelming disapproval of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with nearly 90% saying he should resign. 88 year old leader's administration is Widely viewed by Palestinians As a corrupt and autocratic ally of the occupation as it works with Israel to suppress Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The US wants Abbas's internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to also rule Gaza. Hamas seized Gaza from the PA in 2007. The US also wants to revive the long-stalled peace process to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu's government strongly opposes Palestinian statehood and has said it will maintain Open-ended security controls Over Gaza.

Late Wednesday, Hamas' supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said that any plan for Gaza that does not include Hamas is an "illusion and a mirage", although he said the group was ready to stop fighting. Haniyeh lives in exile in Qatar, but it is unclear where he was when he made the comments.

Israelis strongly support the war and consider it necessary to prevent a repeat of October 7, when Hamas breached the country's security. Palestinian militants attacked communities in southern Israel that day, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Taking hostage about 240,

Nearly half the hostages, mostly women and children, were freed last month during a week-long ceasefire in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Cheheb reported from Beirut.

Copyright 2023 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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