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Israel-Gaza war live: Netanyahu targets control of Gaza-Egypt border in ‘many months’ of war on Hamas

Israel-Gaza war live: Netanyahu targets control of Gaza-Egypt border in ‘many months’ of war on Hamas


Key events

Benjamin Netanyahu says war with Hamas will last ‘many months’

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to retake control of the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, expanding Israel’s mission to neutralise Hamas in a conflict it says it expects to last for months, Reuters reports.

Netanyahu said “the war is at its height” and the Philadelphi corridor buffer zone that runs along Gaza’s border with Egypt must be in Israeli hands. “It must be shut,” Netanyahu said. “It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarisation that we seek.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photograph: Reuters

Netanyahu’s comments about the buffer zone came as Israeli military forces pressed ahead with an offensive that the prime minister reiterated will last “for many months”.

“The war will continue for many months until Hamas is eliminated and the hostages are returned,” Netanyahu told a news conference. “We will guarantee that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel.”

Opening summary

Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of the Israel-Gaza war, I’m Yang Tian bringing you the latest news. It’s just past 9am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv on New Year’s Eve, here’s a rundown of recent developments.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the war against Hamas will last “many months” and pledged to retake control of the border zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

“The war will continue for many months until Hamas is eliminated and the hostages are returned,” Netanyahu told a news conference. “We will guarantee that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel.”

Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Israel Defense Forces/Reuters

More details coming shortly. In other news:

  • The Organization for Islamic Cooperation has “welcomed” South Africa’s decision to launch a case at the International Court of Justice in which it accuses Israel of carrying out “genocidal” acts across Gaza. According to Qatari news agency QNA, the 57-member OIC, which Qatar is a part of, stressed that Israel is “committing a genocide by its indiscriminate targeting of civilian population … forcibly displacing them, preventing them from obtaining basic needs and humanitarian aid, and destroying buildings and health, educational and religious facilities”.

  • Tim Kaine, a US Democratic senator representing Virginia, has condemned the Biden administration’s arms transfer to Israel, joining a handful of other Democrats who are criticizing Biden for bypassing congressional review in the foreign transfer of weapons. Kaine’s criticism comes as Israeli strikes have killed more than 21,600 Palestinians across Gaza since 7 October, while internally displacing more than 1.9 million survivors from their homes.

  • In a tweet ahead, the World Food Programme warned that “there is a different kind of countdown in Gaza”, pointing to an impending famine across the strip as a result of Israel’s attacks. “We are racing against time to avert a complete collapse of even the most basic services and starvation for millions,” the WFP said.

  • Israeli forces shot and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man in the West Bank on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry announced. The man, identified by Palestinian news agency WAFA as Mohammad Hussein Masalma, was killed by Israeli forces who fired live ammunition at the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp in the south of Hebron, WAFA reports.

  • Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, has hailed South Africa’s decision to launch a case against Israel in the International Court of Justice in which it accused Israel of carrying out “genocidal” acts in Gaza. In a tweet on Saturday, Zomlot wrote: “Justice must be served and the #genocide must stop.”

  • The Palestinian Liberation Front’s armed wing announced on Saturday that an Israeli soldier it was holding captive had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, which also injured some of his captors, Reuters reports. According to an audio speech broadcast by Al Araby television, an Abu Ali Mustafa brigades spokesperson said that the Israeli airstrike occurred after a failed attempt by Israeli forces to rescue the soldier.

  • Forty percent of Gaza’s population is at risk of famine, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said on Saturday. “Every day is a struggle for survival, finding food and water,” the UN agency for Palestinian refugees added.





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