Netanyahu promises ‘victory’ against Hamas despite IDF’s ‘painful losses’ since entering Gaza – as Israel’s air force chief accuses the terrorist group of ‘using civilians as part of this war’ following Jabalia strike
Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to deliver victory against Hamas despite the IDF’s ‘painful losses’ since entering Gaza, after 11 soldiers were killed on Tuesday.
‘We have so many important achievements, but also painful losses. We know that every soldier of ours is an entire world,’ the Israeli Prime Minister said in a televised address after the army confirmed the troops were killed in ground fighting.
‘We will continue until victory.’
His comments came after Israel‘s air force chief accused Hamas of using civilians as part of its war against the Jewish state, following the IDF’s admission that it carried out an airstrike on a refugee camp that killed more than 50 people.
In the wake of the strike that has further stoked anger at the Israeli military’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Brigadier General Eyal Greenbaum insisted every target in the territory was being assessed in advance to minimise civilian losses.
A large explosion ripped through the densely packed Jabalia camp before nightfall, tearing facades off nearby buildings and leaving a deep, debris-littered crater.
Wails filled the air as hundreds of bystanders and volunteers clawed at concrete blocks and twisted metal looking for survivors.
The IDF says the strike killed a Hamas commander involved in the October 7 attacks that killed 1,400 in Israel, while reports on the ground say it killed at least 50 people and that the death toll will continue to rise.
Hamas has claimed seven of the hostages taken from Israel by Hamas terrorists on October 7 were also killed in the strike, including three foreign passport holders.
A Hamas spokesman said today: ‘Seven detainees were killed in the Jabalia massacre yesterday, including three holders of foreign passports.’
Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to deliver victory against Hamas despite the IDF’s ‘painful losses’ since entering Gaza, after 11 soldiers were killed on Tuesday. Above, an IDF battle tank is seen moving into position in Israel
Above, a group of Israeli soldiers are seen inside the Gaza strip in photos released by the IDF
A view from the ground operation of Israeli forces as the Israeli army’s air, sea and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip continue on its 26th day in Gaza City, Gaza on November 1
Israeli soldiers are seen walking in Gaza during the on-going ground operation
An Israeli tank maneuvers next to the Gaza Strip, as seen from Sderot, southern Israel
Greenbaum told The Times that every strike goes through 11 or 12 stages of approval being being authorised by Israeli commanders.
He insisted that the IDF were closely following the international rules of war that state the rate of civilian deaths be proportional to the target’s military importance.
Since the October 7 Hamas terror attack, Gaza has suffered weeks of relentless bombardment by Israel that has cost the lives of more than 8,500 people, including more than 3,500 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Israel has long accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields, launching rocket attacks from – and setting up command centres in – civilian buildings.
Critics of Israel say that this accusation is used by the IDF to give itself carte blanche to attack targets across the region, regardless of the number of civilian casualties that could result from an attack.
But Greenbaum blamed Hamas for the civilian losses, saying that it has chosen to make the people of Gaza part of its war machine.
‘It’s not a campaign, it’s a war in Israel right now,’ he told The Times.
‘We insist on keeping the process of how we select targets. These are our values. Unfortunately, there are a lot of casualties. We try to avoid these casualties. But Hamas-Isis uses civilians to be part of this war. Despite this decision we try to avoid civilian casualties, but unfortunately sometimes in this war it happens.’
He did admit that the current campaign has ‘used more ammunition and struck more targets’ than previous incarnations of the conflict.
By Thursday (October 26) Israeli forces had already launched 8,000 munitions into Gaza, according to the IDF – an incredibly high rate of fire. Since the war began, Israel has said it has struck 11,000 targets.
An IDF legal adviser told the British newspaper that the greater importance of the war has changed how target assessments are being made.
‘The way that the IDF manages this very difficult consideration, this very tragic loss of civilian life, has not been changed. The mechanism has not changed,’ the adviser said, but that the ‘greater threat’ posed by Hamas changed the balance.
The adviser told The Times that the on-going conflict is ‘fundamentally different’ from previous wars between Israel and Hamas in the past.
Israel’s air force chief has accused Hamas of using civilians as part of its war against the Jewish state, after the IDF admitted carrying out an airstrike of a refugee camp. Pictured: Palestinians search for casualties in the rubble in the wake of the deadly air strike
A man is seen carrying the limp body of a young girl after the strike of the refugee camp
Bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp, lie at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, October 31
Dozens of Palestinians search through the rubble in the wake of Tuesday’s strike
A group of men search through the rubble of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, October 31
Israel said its warplanes had struck a ‘vast’ tunnel complex at the site, killing ‘many Hamas terrorists’, including local battalion commander Ibrahim Biari (pictured)
Greenbaum’s comments came as hundreds of wounded Gaza residents and foreigners gathered at the Egypt border in a bid to flee the shattered territory.
Images showed long lines of ambulances and several people in wheelchairs at the Rafah border crossing – the only one not controlled by Israel – after Cairo said it would let in 81 of the most seriously injured.
AFP journalists saw a phalanx of 40 white ambulances streaming through the crossing, as crowds of foreign and dual national families gathered nearby, hoping to leave the catastrophic conditions of Gaza behind them.
At least two children were seen in the ambulances, one with a large bandage wrapped around his stomach, as medics examined the wounded and transferred them to stretchers.
Meanwhile, reporters for France’s AFP news agency saw more tanks pour over the border into northern Gaza as Israel stepped up its ground incursion.
The small 140-square-mile territory is still reeling from the strike on its largest refugee camp, which killed at around 50 people.
AFP witnessed at least 47 corpses being recovered from the site.
Horrified resident Ragheb Aqal, 41, likened the explosion to ‘an earthquake’.
He spoke of seeing ‘homes buried under the rubble and body parts and martyrs and wounded in huge numbers’.
Israel said its warplanes had struck a ‘vast’ tunnel complex at the site, killing ‘many Hamas terrorists’, including local battalion commander Ibrahim Biari.
Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus described Biari as ‘pivotal in the planning and execution’ of the raids by Hamas, that Israel has vowed to ‘crush’ in retribution.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry denounced the incident as ‘a heinous Israeli massacre’ and said an initial toll of 50 dead and 150 wounded was sure to rise.
Today, Hamas claimed that further air strikes had taken place in Jabalia as Gaza was plunged into an internet and phone service outage for several hours.
The toll from Wednesday’s strikes was not immediately known. Al-Jazeera television, which is still reporting from northern Gaza, aired footage of devastation and of several wounded people, including children, being brought to a nearby hospital.
The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell today said he was ‘appalled’ by the high number of casualties from the refugee camp bombing and called for fighting parties to respect the international rules of war.
‘Building on EU Council’s clear stance that Israel has the right to defend itself in line with international humanitarian law and ensuring the protection of all civilians, I am appalled by the high number of casualties following the bombing by Israel of the Jabalia refugee camp, ‘ Borrell said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.
Tuesday’s strike sparked more international condemnation, with Bolivia announcing it was cutting ties.
And Qatar warned that expanded strikes would ‘undermine mediation and de-escalation efforts’.
Doha hosts several senior Hamas officials and is a key channel in trying to secure the release of some 240 hostages believed to have been taken by Hamas on October 7.
Saudi Arabia also criticised the strike, with its foreign ministry issuing a statement saying it condemned ‘in the strongest terms possible the inhumane targeting by the Israeli occupation forces of the Jabalia refugee camp’.
But there is little sign of the conflict abating.
As the aerial war continued, Israel said nine soldiers were killed as troops engaged in ‘fierce battles’ with Hamas militants ‘deep inside the Gaza Strip’ on Tuesday.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, has vowed to turn Gaza into a ‘graveyard’ for invading forces.
Palestinains wait at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday, hoping to leave the territory that is currently under siege by Israel
Palestinians wait with their suitcases at the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday
Aid groups and the United Nations warned time is running out for many of the territory’s 2.2 million people denied access to food, water, fuel and medicine.
Surgeons are conducting amputations on hospital floors without anaesthetic, and children are forced to drink salty water, said Jean-Francois Corty, vice-president of Medecins du Monde, which has 20 staff on the ground.
The Palestinian telecommunications agency said Wednesday that phone and internet services had ‘been completely cut off in Gaza’, the second such blackout in a week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed international calls for a humanitarian ceasefire. He said they amount to ‘a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism’.
‘This will not happen,’ he said.
Israeli officials said that 70 trucks with aid were allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday – one of the biggest flows since a US-brokered deal was reached.
However, it is much less than humanitarian groups say is needed.
Israel fears that food, water, and medicine coming into Gaza could be diverted to Hamas, or that aid shipments could conceal arms or other supplies.
As a result, Israeli security personnel carry out stringent inspections that have slowed the flow of aid to a trickle.
As Israel steps up its assault on Gaza, the families of hostages are struggling with an unbearable wait for news of relatives thought to be held in the labyrinth of tunnels deep below Gaza.
‘It’s really hell. There are no words to express this,’ said Hadas Kalderon as she walked past the blackened homes of kibbutz Nir Oz.
There gunmen killed her mother and niece and kidnapped her 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.
‘I don’t have any control and knowledge about army actions, I just know my children are still there in the middle of a war,’ said the 56-year-old.
Israeli army self-propelled artillery howitzers move in a convoy with other vehicles along a road by the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on November 1
An Israeli army self-propelled artillery howitzer moves on a road along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on November 1
Israeli army soldiers sit in the turret of a battle tank moving at a position in the upper Galilee region of northern Israel near the border with Lebanon on November 1
A vast plume of smoke rises above the Gaza Strip after an Israeli air strike on Wednesday
Israelis also face a daily barrage of aerial attacks from Hamas and other Iran-backed groups around the Middle East.
Yemen’s Huthi rebels said they had ‘launched a large batch of ballistic missiles… and a large number of armed aircraft’ towards Israel on Tuesday.
Israel’s military said a ‘hostile aircraft intrusion’ had set off warning sirens in Eilat, its Red Sea resort, and a surface-to-surface missile was ‘successfully intercepted.’
In the north, Israel has traded near-daily fire with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, amid fears that the conflict could spread to the wider region.