Gaza war to continue throughout 2024: Israel’s army chief

Israel's military chief has stated that the conflict in Gaza, persisting for three months already, would likely last throughout 2024 and spill over to other fronts.

Herzi Halevi, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), made the remarks during a visit to the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Halevi said 2024 would be “challenging” and that Israel would “certainly be involved in fighting in Gaza throughout the year”, implying that the current full-scale conflict with Hamas, the Palestinian faction that rules Gaza, could ease but not end.

The Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip rose to 22,835, and the injuries have reached 58,500, the Gaza-based Health Ministry announced Sunday. Additionally, around 1,200 people in Israel have lost their lives due to the Hamas attack.

He also warned of a possible flare-up in violence “on other fronts, especially the West Bank,” where tensions have risen since the start of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which started on Oct. 7, 2023, following a surprise attack from Hamas.

Halevi also added the IDF would increase “the pressure it exerts” on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where it has traded fire with Hezbollah in recent months.

“Hezbollah has decided to join this war. We are increasingly exacting a toll on them,” he said, adding that the army had “a responsibility, a duty, to securely return northern residents to their homes”.

Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel since early October when the Israeli regime launched a full-scale military campaign against the Palestinians in Gaza. Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli targets are aimed at forcing the regime to end the aggression that has left more than 22,700 people dead in Gaza.

The fighting has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands from the northern part of the Israeli-occupied territories, which have been pummeled by rocket fire and shelling carried out by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian groups.

Nearly 150 Hezbollah fighters have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict, while some 11 Israeli soldiers have also been killed.

Hezbollah has already fought off two Israeli wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, forcing a humiliating retreat upon the Tel Aviv regime’s military in both cases.

The resistance movement has vowed to resolutely defend Lebanon in case of any Israeli-imposed war.

The group announced on Saturday that it hit an Israeli observation post with 62 rockets as a “preliminary response” to the recent killing of senior Hamas leader Saleh Al-Arouri in Lebanon.

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