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Israeli PM announces start of war third phase with Hamas: What does it mean?

Israeli PM announces start of war third phase with Hamas: What does it mean? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced the beginning of the third phase of the military operation against the Hamas group, involving an expansion of ground penetration into the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli government.

During the weekly meeting of the Israeli government, Netanyahu stated that the country is "in the midst of war."

"We have set a clear goal for ourselves: to destroy the military and regime potential of Hamas. We are doing this systematically," he said.

Netanyahu outlined the goals of different operation phases, stating, "First of all, the restraining stage is completed. The second stage is ongoing air attacks. The third stage is the expansion of ground penetration into the Gaza Strip. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is doing this measuredly, with mighty steps, systematically advancing."

He also emphasized "full trust in both tactics and management" of the ongoing operation, conducted under the leadership of the Chief of the General Staff from "the entire nation and its leadership."

"There will be further steps that cannot be discussed here, but we are talking in the 'war cabinet,'" Netanyahu added.

Threat from Hezbollah

Netanyahu also noted active efforts to restrain the situation on the northern front, near the border with Lebanon.

"I say again to Hezbollah: you will make the mistake of your life if you decide to intervene in the campaign fully. You will receive a blow you cannot even imagine," warned Netanyahu.

Release of hostages

The Israeli side continues its efforts to release citizens kidnapped by Hamas during their invasion, Netanyahu emphasized.

Netanyahu assured that the ongoing operation creates opportunities for releases, acknowledging that the campaign would be challenging with unexpected obstacles, difficulties, losses, and surprises. However, he pledged that Hamas would face defeat, resulting in a transformed Gaza.

Political, humanitarian, and economic efforts

He also added that this "requires patience and time," in particular, to "gain political support."

"I am in daily contact with the US President, and our team constantly communicates with our colleagues. We explain that we are fighting not only our war but also theirs because if Hamas is not defeated, the axis of evil will win, and if the axis of evil wins, the free world will lose... This is a political effort, and everyone who can contribute should do so," the Israeli prime minister explained.

Netanyahu also spoke about the humanitarian and economic components of the operation and the fight against Hamas.

Netanyahu explained that the second aspect involves humanitarian efforts, emphasizing their attempt to relocate the Gaza population to the southern sector. He noted the establishment of a secure zone where they aim to channel humanitarian aid, highlighting that these actions are being carried out in coordination with their American allies. Netanyahu added that this process also requires time.

The third effort is economic, according to Netanyahu. He stated that the government must do "much more, which will cost a lot of money, but this is a secondary consideration."

"The most important thing needed is unity. We have created an extraordinary national government for waging war. Now the people are united like never before," he emphasized.

Israeli ground operation

Recall that on October 7, Hamas militants launched a massive invasion of Israel, killing and kidnapping military and civilian residents during the attack. Subsequently, Israel announced the start of Operation Iron Swords and began regular shelling of targets in the Gaza Strip.

On October 27, the Israeli army intensified its attack on Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces also reported the expansion of the ground operation.

At the same time, the IDF announced that additional troops were sent to the Gaza Strip during the night of October 30 to continue the operation.