Israeli PM says intensifying military operations in Gaza as Palestinians death toll nears 21k

As the death toll among Palestinians in Gaza is approaching the 21,000 mark, Israeli prime minister says the army troops are "intensifying" operations inside the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers are “intensifying” operations inside the Gaza Strip and will continue to fight until victory over Hamas is achieved, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement released Sunday.

“Citizens of Israel, we are intensifying the war in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to fight until absolute victory over Hamas. This is the only way to return our hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu stated.

“This will take time, but we are united – the soldiers, the people and the government. We are united and determined to fight until the end,” he added.

Netanyahu also talked about the Israeli soldiers, who were killed during military operations in Gaza.

“The war has a price, a very heavy price in the lives of our heroic soldiers, and we will do everything to safeguard the lives of our soldiers. However, there is one thing we will not do: We will not stop until we achieve victory,” he continued.

Netanyahu’s statement comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed Wednesday during a news conference that the conflict “needs to move to a lower-intensity phase.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced Sunday that its ground, aerial, and naval forces struck approximately 200 targets in Gaza over the past day.

In the last 24 hours, 166 people have died and 384 people were injured in Gaza, according to a statement published by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in the enclave on Sunday.

The ministry also reported that since October 7, the death toll has risen to 20,424, with an additional 54,036 people injured.

The military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas also announced its fighters have destroyed dozens of Israeli military vehicles and killed scores of its forces within the space of four days.

Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, made the comment in a Sunday statement, saying that at least 35 Israeli military vehicles were either partially or completely destroyed during the past four days.

“Our Mujahideen confirmed that 48 Zionist soldiers were killed, dozens were injured with varying degrees of injury, and 24 military missions were carried out in which the invading Zionist forces were targeted with missiles and anti-fortification devices,” he added.

The resistance fighters also booby-trapped two tunnels used by Israel’s Yahalom special operations forces, Abu Ubaida noted.

They also deployed landmines against the Israeli military’s vehicles and troops, and conducted six sniper operations against the enemy’s forces.

The Hamas spokesman revealed that the brigades have “bombed headquarters, command rooms, and concentration points” of Israeli forces with mortar shells and short-range missiles on all fronts across the Gaza Strip.

Abu Ubaida stated the resistance fighters also rained a barrage of missiles on the center of the city of Tel Aviv in the occupied territories.

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