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Israel’s army chief says Gaza conflict to continue throughout 2024

Israel’s military chief said on Sunday that the conflict in Gaza, persisting for three months already, would likely last throughout 2024 and spill over to other fronts.

Herzi Halevi, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), made the remarks during a visit to the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Halevi said 2024 would be “challenging” and that Israel would “certainly be involved in fighting in Gaza throughout the year,” implying that the current full-scale conflict with Hamas, the Palestinian faction that rules Gaza, could ease but not end.

He also warned of a possible flare-up in violence “on other fronts, especially the West Bank,” where tensions have risen since the start of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which started on Oct. 7, 2023, following a surprise attack from Hamas.

Halevi also said the IDF would increase “the pressure it exerts” on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where it has traded fire with Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militant group, in recent months.

“Hezbollah has decided to join this war. We are increasingly exacting a toll on them,” he said, adding that the army had “a responsibility, a duty, to securely return northern residents to their homes.”

The Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip rose to 22,835, and the injuries have reached 58,416, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said Sunday. Additionally, around 1,200 people in Israel have lost their lives due to the Hamas attack. ■

Famagusta Gazette