Amid an escalating ground war, Israel’s military has announced that its forces have surrounded Gaza’s main city while rejecting growing international calls for a ceasefire to halt bloodshed in the besieged Palestinian territory.
Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Thursday that Gaza City has been encircled nearly a week after its forces expanded ground operations in the Hamas-governed enclave.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who last week said the war against Hamas, had entered the “second stage” amid an escalating ground war, noting that Israeli forces were at the “height of the battle”.
Israel’s military said in a separate statement on social media that its priorities “are to bring home the children, women and men who are being held hostage by Hamas and to make sure Hamas will no longer have the ability to attack Israelis”.
Israel’s announcement came after United States President Joe Biden voiced support for a humanitarian “pause” in fighting to allow the release of captives held by Hamas.