RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Israel has vowed to keep fighting in Gaza until it crushes Hamas after one of the deadliest single battles of the war for its soldiers, even as it faces mounting international calls for a cease-fire and unease on the part of its closest ally, the United States.
The ambush in Gaza City showed Hamas is still able to fight in some of the hardest-hit areas more than two and a half months into a massive air and ground war aimed at destroying its military capabilities. Israel has imposed a total siege on northern Gaza and flattened much of it, forcing most of the population to flee south several weeks ago.
Hamas' resilience has called into question whether Israel can defeat it without wiping out Gaza. Support for Hamas has surged among Palestinians — in part because of the militant group's stiff resistance to a far more powerful foe — while Israel's most important ally, the U.S., has expressed growing discomfort over civilian deaths in what is already one of the 21st century's most devastating military campaigns.
“We are continuing until the end, there is no question,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Wednesday. “I say this even given the great pain and the international pressure. Nothing will stop us.”
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was set to visit Israel on Thursday. The U.S. has pressed Israel to take greater measures to spare civilians, and President Joe…