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Netanyahu: Israel Ready for Potential Situations Beyond Gaza

JERUSALEM/CAIRO—Israel is continuing its operations in Gaza while also making preparations for potential scenarios in other regions, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He emphasized that Israel is ready to meet all security needs defensively and offensively in response to any harm inflicted upon them.

The Israeli government has been on alert for possible retaliation from Iran following the airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus that resulted in the deaths of a senior general and six other Iranian officers on April 1. While Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that Israel “must be punished and it shall be” for the incident.

Israel’s chief military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari assured that civilians are not being instructed to take special precautions but emphasized that Israel is well-prepared for various potential scenarios.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made these remarks as Israeli troops and warplanes initiated an operation in central Gaza with the aim of dismantling the infrastructure of armed Palestinian groups.

While most Israeli troops have been withdrawn from Gaza in preparation for an assault on the city of Rafah, fighting has persisted in different areas of the region.

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Local residents and militants have reported intense gun battles with Israeli forces, particularly in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp where Israeli attacks have caused significant damage to buildings, including mosques.

Raouf Abed, 20, described the situation in Deir Al-Balah, south of Al-Nuseirat refugee camp, as a continuous barrage of explosions coming from all directions, indicating a new wave of aggression by the Israeli military.

Despite hopes for a ceasefire, Israel’s actions continue to escalate, putting pressure on Hamas and impacting civilians in the region, according to Abed.

The conflict in Gaza, now in its seventh month, has overshadowed tensions further north along the Israeli-Lebanese border where Israeli troops have been engaged in daily clashes with Hezbollah fighters.

On Thursday, Israeli jets targeted Hezbollah military sites in Lebanon, including Meiss el Jabal, Yarine, Khiam, and observation posts in Marwahin and Al-Dahira.

Hezbollah, backed by Iran, has been a longstanding threat to Israel, possessing a substantial arsenal of missiles. However, both sides have so far refrained from a full-scale confrontation.

Recent Israeli military operations have resulted in the deaths of 63 Palestinians and injuries to 45 others, as reported by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Late on Thursday, Palestinian health officials confirmed the death of Rudwan Rudwan, the head of the Hamas-run police force in the Jabalia camp, due to an Israeli airstrike. Hamas stated that Rudwan also oversaw the protection of aid convoys in northern Gaza. There has been no immediate response from the Israeli authorities.

With more than 33,545 Palestinian fatalities since the start of the offensive, and a majority of the 2.3 million population displaced, the region is in a state of devastation.

The conflict began when Hamas initiated an attack on southern Israel, resulting in casualties and hostages. Approximately 130 individuals remain in captivity in Gaza, according to Israeli reports.

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