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IDF chief announces next phase of Gaza operation

IDF chief announces next phase of Gaza operation Photo: Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Getty Images)

Israel will gradually move to the next phase of operations in the Gaza Strip, says Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Gallant stated that the local population is likely to be allowed to return initially to the northern Gaza Strip, which was the most densely populated area of the Mediterranean enclave before Israel's invasion in response to Hamas attacks on October 7.

However, Gallant did not specify the timeline for transitioning to the new phase of the operation.

Most residents of the northern part of Gaza have heeded Israel's instructions to evacuate to the south, where the military regularly directs people to move further amid ongoing airstrikes and exchanges of fire with militants from the Islamist group.

"Soon we will be able to distinguish between different areas in Gaza. In every area where we complete our mission, we will be able to gradually move on to the next stage and begin the process of returning the local population. In every area where we achieve our mission we will be able to transition gradually to the next phase and start working on bringing back the local population. That means that it can be achieved maybe sooner in the north rather than in the south," stated Gallant.

Israel-Hamas war recap

Hamas militants invaded Israel on October 7. Terrorists began killing and kidnapping both military and civilian personnel. Shortly after, Jerusalem declared Operation Iron Swords and targeted terrorist locations in the Gaza Strip.

A temporary ceasefire for the release of prisoners began on November 24 between Tel Aviv and the militants. By December 1, hostilities resumed, according to Israel, due to a violation of the ceasefire terms by Hamas.

On December 14, the White House announced that the United States wants the war between Israel and Hamas to end as soon as possible. On the same day, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that the war could last several more months.

President Joe Biden stated that Israel is beginning to lose global support due to "indiscriminate bombings" of the Gaza Strip. The UN General Assembly also voted in favor of a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that international pressure would not stop the war against Hamas.