The Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, warns that the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas could last for months.
“It will take one month, two months, three months and at the end there will be no more Hamas,” Gallant said over the weekend.
By Sunday there was still no sign of the white flag. Israel hit targets in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and issued a sharp warning to regional enemies not to get involved in the conflict.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says that if the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah were to become more closely involved, it would be “the mistake of his life”.
“We will attack it with a force that he cannot even imagine, and the meaning for the group and the state of Lebanon will be devastating,” Netanyahu said on Sunday during a visit to troops near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria’s government are all backed by Iran, which opposes Israel’s existence and has warned that the region could spiral “out of control”.
Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, spoke on the phone with Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Sunday. The two discussed “the latest developments” in the war, as well as the “use of all possible means to stop Israel’s campaign”.
The Americans also say they will not hesitate to act if Iran or its allies become involved in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We are concerned about the possibility that Iranian proxies will escalate their attacks against our own personnel, our own people,” Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken told CBS News.
“We expect that there is a likelihood of escalation.”
“If any group or any country wants to expand this conflict and take advantage of this extremely unfortunate situation, our advice is: don’t,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said again on ABC News.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Israeli forces are waiting on the border of Gaza for an order to invade the enclave on the ground.
The Israeli army said on Sunday that one soldier was killed and three others wounded during a tank operation in the area.
“This action was part of the effort to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, clear the area of terrorists and weapons and locate missing people and bodies,” said a military spokesperson.
Israel admitted on Sunday that it had accidentally hit an Egyptian border post and apologized for the incident, which Cairo said left an unspecified number of border guards with “minor injuries”.
Humanitarian aid reaches Gaza
The United States on Sunday promised a continued flow of aid to the Gaza Strip after a new convoy of 14 trucks entered the besieged and bombed Palestinian enclave.
Israel agreed to the continued provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The United Nations (UN) estimates the enclave needs around 100 trucks a day to meet the needs of its 2.4 million inhabitants. Almost half of them are believed to have been uprooted since Israel began its retaliatory campaign.
Martin Griffiths, head of emergency relief at the UN, says the latest delivery of food, water and medical supplies brings hope to millions of people who urgently need humanitarian aid. “But they need more, much more,” Griffiths pointed out.
After major delays, aid began to arrive on Saturday in accordance with an agreement brokered by the US president, Joe Biden, in cooperation with Egyptian and Israeli leaders.