Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, firmly rejected calls for a ceasefire with Hamas, as Israeli troops continued to expand operations on the ground
Speaking with journalists, he said, “Just as the United States will not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 9/11.
“Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7.
“Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.
“The Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war.
“This is a time for war, a war for a common future.”
He called on all civilised nations to stand with Israel in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and in drawing a line between the forces of civilisation and the forces barbarism.
“It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier on Monday, the Israel Defence Forces said a female Israeli soldier taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, was freed during the deployment of ground forces in the Gaza Strip.
“The soldier was medically checked, is doing well, and has met with her family,” the IDF and the Israeli Security Agency wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, in a joint statement.
Israel’s army heralded a new phase in the war against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, at the weekend.
In addition to massive airstrikes, Israeli ground forces advanced deeper into the territory.
Terrorists from Hamas carried out a massacre of civilians in Israel on Oct. 7.
More than 1,400 people were killed in the massacre and in the following days.
At least 239 others were abducted to the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli army, which believes most of the hostages to still be alive.
Another 40 people are still missing since the terrorist attacks.
According to Israeli sources, citizens of more than 40 countries are among those killed and missing.
According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza, 8,306 Palestinians had been killed by Monday in retaliatory airstrikes by Israel.
The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said they had fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli units in the Zeitoun district south-east of Gaza.
Fighting was also reported from the north-west of the coastal strip, which is only 40 kilometres long and between six and 12 kilometres wide.
Aircraft and attack helicopters had struck targets that had been passed on to them by the ground forces, the Israeli army wrote on X.
A building belonging to Hamas, in which more than 20 fighters were sheltering, was hit.
In addition, anti-tank positions and other military installations were destroyed, it said.
The IDF early on Monday said its forces struck over 600 terror targets over the last few days.
It included weapons depots, dozens of anti-tank missile launching positions, as well as hideouts and staging grounds used by the Hamas terrorist organisation.
Rather than a sudden large-scale ground attack, Israel’s military was apparently opting for a gradual expansion of its ground operations against Hamas.
A total of 117 trucks with aid supplies have arrived in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war more than three weeks ago.
Although the United Nations said it fell far short of what was needed.
According to UN projections, at least 100 truckloads are actually needed every day to supply the 2.2 million people who live in the Gaza Strip with basic necessities.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said before the war began an average of 500 trucks entered the territory every day during the week.
Meanwhile UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, was to be allowed to enter the territory more than three weeks after the start of the conflict there, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday.
Israel had announced last week that it would deny entry to UN representatives as it had done in the past following statements critical of Israel by UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
Israel is temporarily freezing millions in payments to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank over alleged support for the Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7.
Israel collects taxes and customs duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
At last count, some 160 million dollars was being forwarded to the authority each month.