Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that the offensive on the Gaza Strip is “just the beginning.”
“We are striking our enemies (Hamas) with unprecedented force, and I confirm that this is just the beginning. Our enemies have just begun to pay the price,” he said in a televised statement broadcast by Israeli Channel 12.
Netanyahu said Israel will end the battle at a time that it sees suitable after Hamas is defeated.
He pointed out that Tel Aviv is mobilizing massive international support for the operation and noted the expected US ammunition and weaponry supplies.
Netanyahu has vowed on more than one occasion to eliminate the Hamas movement since the start of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.
The number of Palestinians killed has risen to 1,799 and at least 6,612 have been wounded in the bombardment since Saturday, including 1,644 children and 1,005 women, according to the Health Ministry sources on Friday.
The conflict began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood — a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
That response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.