ISRAELI Prime Minister Netanyahu has defied the US and Russia calls for a ceasefire and says he “won’t surrender to Hamas without victory.”
Kremlin has warned Israel that civilian casualties in Gaza were “unacceptable,” the country’s foreign ministry said, amid calls for de-escalation.
It comes as earlier today Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened to “conquer” Hamas and said his country “won’t surrender without a clear victory.”
Speaking in Tel Aviv, the Israeli leader said: “There are only two ways that you can deal with Hamas. You can either conquer them – and that’s always an open possibility – or you can deter them.”
He added: “We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don’t rule out anything.”
When asked for how long the operations will continue he said: “We aren’t standing with a stopwatch. We are concerned with the objectives of the operation.
“Previous operations lasted a long time, so it is not possible to set a timeframe.”
Earlier today the Israeli Prime Minister had a discussion with Joe Biden who said he wants a “significant de-escalation today.”
The White House confirmed that the president spoke with the Israeli Prime Minister on Wednesday morning.
“The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” they said in a statement.
“The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”
Following Biden’s comments regarding de-escalation, Netanyahu said that “every day we are hitting more capabilities of the terror organizations, bringing down more terror towers, hitting more weapons caches, ” as he vowed to continue the operation.
He said that he greatly appreciates Biden’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself, and added: “I am determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved — to bring back peace and security to you, the citizens of Israel,” according to The Times of Israel.
Israeli defence sources also told the BBC that there was “still no ceasefire on the table”.
Israeli forces had been pummelling Gaza with airstrikes for days on end as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu targets leaders of the militant group Hamas.
In return, Hamas has been firing hundreds of rockets towards Tel Aviv.
The IDF revealed earlier that top Hamas Commander Mohammed Deif, 55, has lost both legs, an arm and an eye after six Israeli airstrikes failed to kill him.
Meanwhile the IDF tweeted that it is ready for “any scenario on any front” after four rockets were launched earlier today.
The tweet reads: “4 rockets were just fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, 1 of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome.
“In response, IDF artillery forces are striking a number of targets in Lebanon. We are prepared for any scenario on any front.”
Gaza medical officials say 215 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children and 36 women, and more than 1,400 wounded.
Israeli authorities say 12 people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
The current hostilities are the deadliest between the militant group and Israel since 2014.