Israeli PM says an axis of terror exists between Iran and its proxies as IDF tanks surround Gaza hospitals suspected to be Hamas command centres
Islamist militants will pose a threat to the United States and Europe if Israel loses its current war with Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, saying Western states would be next in line should his country fail.
While the prime minister acknowledged that Washington had been very supportive of Israel’s military action in Gaza, he rejected any calls for a ceasefire, insisting it would amount to a surrender to Hamas.
Netanyahu implored Israel’s allies for support during a sit-down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday, stating “We have to win not only for our sake, but for the sake of the Middle East,” as well as “for the sake of our Arab neighbors”and the world at large.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari shows what he says are weapons stored by Hamas in the basement of Rantissi Hospital, a paediatric hospital with a specialty in treating cancer patients, at a location given as Gaza, in this still image taken from video released November 13, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS
“We have to win to protect Israel. We have to win to safeguard the Middle East. We have to win for the sake of the civilized world. That’s the battle we’re fighting, and it’s being waged right now. There is no substitute for that victory,” he continued, adding “If we don’t win now, then Europe is next and you’re next.”
Insisting that “our fight is your fight,” the PM went on to allege that an “axis of terror” exists between Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Iranian government, claiming Tehran’s “minions” seek to “bring the Middle East [and] the world back to the Dark Ages.”
“On the other side stands Israel, the modern Arab states, of course the United States, all the forces that want to see peace, prosperity for the Middle East and for the world,” Netanyahu added.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing sources that Hamas militants had planned ahead for mass atrocities in Israel, with one order recovered from the body of a Hamas fighter allegedly reading: “Kill as many people and take as many hostages as possible.”
While some Hamas shock troops managed to cover only about half of the distance from Gaza to the West Bank, many are said to have carried enough supplies and ammunition to continue operations for several days. They also reportedly had reconnaissance data and maps, suggesting that they had intended to reach the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli Military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said troops had found a command centre with an armoury of weapons including grenades, suicide vests and other explosives stored by Hamas fighters in the basement of Rantissi Hospital, a paediatric hospital with a specialty in treating cancer patients.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari shows what the Israeli military says is a tunnel at a location given as Gaza, in this still image taken from video released November 13, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS
“And we also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here,” he told a televised briefing. “This is currently under our investigation. But we also have intelligence that verifies it.”
He showed footage of what appeared to be rudimentary living quarters, including a small kitchen, as well as a nearby tunnel shaft which he said led to the house of a senior Hamas naval commander.
“Hamas took all this area under its control and conducted its war against Israelis from this hospital,” he said.
In addition, troops found a motorcycle with gunshot marks which he said appeared to have been used to bring hostages to Gaza after the surprise attack on Oct. 7 when Hamas gunmen stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and seizing around 240 captives, according to Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Israel has launched an intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip and followed up with a ground operation that has seen troops push deep into the enclave. More than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials.
On Monday, Israeli tanks were positioned outside the gates of Al Shifa hospital, the main hospital in Gaza where hundreds of patients were still waiting to be evacuated.
As the invasion has proceeded, Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian infrastructure to hide command centres and weapons positions and of using civilians and hospital patients as human shields.
Hamas and hospital authorities in Gaza have denied that health facilities have been used in this way. There was no immediate comment from Hamas on the latest Israeli statements.
The United Nations has called for a halt to attacks on healthcare in Gaza. Israel says it is allowing the evacuation of patients and civilians.