KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said israel will have “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an indefinite period after its war with Hamas, the clearest indication yet that israel plans to maintain control over the coastal enclave that is home to some 2.3 million Palestinians.
In an interview with ABC News that aired late Monday, Netanyahu expressed openness to “little pauses” in the fighting to facilitate the release of some of the more than 240 captives seized by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack into Israel, which triggered the war exactly one month ago.
But he ruled out any general cease-fire without the release of all the hostages, and the White House said there was no agreement with United States President Joe Biden's call for a broader humanitarian pause after a phone call between the leaders on Monday.
Israeli troops have been battling Palestinian militants inside Gaza for over a week, and have succeeded in cutting the territory in half and encircling Gaza City.
The war has come at a staggering cost. Airstrikes have leveled entire city blocks across the territory, and around 70% of the population has fled their homes, with many heeding Israeli orders to head to the southern part of the besieged territory, which is also being bombed. Food, medicine, fuel and water are running low, and United Nations-run schools-turned-shelters are overflowing.