Netanyahu says Israel preparing for scenarios in other areas than Gaza

Netanyahu says Israel preparing for scenarios in other areas than Gaza
Netanyahu says Israel preparing for scenarios in other areas than Gaza

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israeli soldiers prepare near the Israel-Gaza border. — Reuters pic

JERUSALEM, April 11 — Israel is keeping up its war in Gaza but is also preparing for scenarios in other areas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, amid concern that Iran was preparing to strike Israel in response for the killing of senior Iranian commanders.

“Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We are prepared to meet all of the security needs of the State of Israel, both defensively and offensively,” he said in comments released by his office following a visit to the Tel Nof air force base in southern Israel.

Israel has been bracing for possible Iranian retaliation for the killing of a senior general and six other Iranian officers in an airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus on April 1. Israel has not said it was responsible but Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said yesterday Israel “must be punished and it shall be” for the attack.

Netanyahu made his comments as Israeli troops and warplanes started an operation in central Gaza overnight which the military said was aimed at destroying infrastructure of armed Palestinian groups.

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Most Israeli troops have been pulled out of Gaza, in preparation for an assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering. but fighting has continued in various areas of the enclave.

Residents and militants said fighters have engaged in gunbattles with Israeli forces, which invaded the northern and southern areas of the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. Israeli bombardments from air, ground, and the sea, which so far destroyed several buildings including two mosques, were almost non-stop, they said.

“It was as if the occupation army was launching a new war,” Raouf Abed, 20, said via chat app from Deir Al-Balah to the south of Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. “The explosions were non-stop, the sounds came from different directions,” he said.

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“Every time we hope there will be a ceasefire, Israel escalates the aggression, as if they are trying to pressure Hamas by hitting on us, the civilians,” he said.

In the Zeitoun suburb of Gaza City, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in a market, health officials said, while another killed two other people in the northern Gaza camp of Jabalia.

Israeli military strikes killed 63 Palestinians and wounded 45 others in the past 24 hours, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

At least 33,545 Palestinians have now been killed since the Israeli offensive began, the ministry said, with most of the 2.3 million population displaced and much of the enclave laid to waste.

The war began when Hamas led an attack on southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and 253 taken hostage. Around 130 are still being held incommunicado in Gaza, Israel says. — Reuters

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