update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu: IDF moving north as intense Rafah fight ‘about to end’

The interview came as Iran-backed Hezbollah continued to launch drones and anti-tank missiles at the Galilee.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears on Channel 14's "The Patriots" show, June 23, 2024. Credit: Screenshot.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears on Channel 14's "The Patriots" show, June 23, 2024. Credit: Screenshot.

With intense fighting in the Gaza Strip winding down, Jerusalem will deploy more troops to the northern border to defend against increasing Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Channel 14 on Sunday night.

“The intense phase of the fighting against Hamas is about to end,” he told “Patriots” host Yinon Magal, adding: “It doesn’t mean that the war is about to end, but the war in its intense phase is about to end in Rafah.”

He added that the Israeli military will continue to “mow the grass” in Gaza constantly to prevent the enclave from becoming a threat again.

After the end of the current phase of the war in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces will “redeploy some forces to the north…primarily for defensive purposes, but also to bring all the residents of the north home,” said the premier, in reference to the tens of thousands of citizens who have been displaced due to the war.

“If we can do it politically, that would be great. If not, we will do it in another way, but we will bring everyone back home—all the residents of the north and the south.”

Any political solution for the northern border “will not be an agreement on paper,” he emphasized, but “will include the physical removal of Hezbollah from the border, and we will have to enforce it.”

Regarding the faltering hostage talks with Hamas, Netanyahu reiterated that he will not agree to the terror group’s demands.

“I’m not prepared to end the war and leave Hamas in place. I am prepared to do a partial deal, that’s no secret, that would return some of the hostages to us,” he said.

The appearance on the right-wing channel marked Netanyahu’s first interview with the Hebrew press since the start of the war eight months ago.

The interview came as Iran-backed Hezbollah continued to launch drones and anti-tank missiles at the Galilee, wounding three Israelis on Sunday, two of whom were listed as being in serious condition.

Asked about the growing prospect of war with Hezbollah, Netanyahu said, “We will do what is necessary. I can assure the citizens of Israel that if we are required to take on this challenge, we will do it. We can fight on several fronts, and we are also preparing for it.”

The Israeli leader also sent a message of unity.

“The God of Israel will not give us another chance. History gives a quota of miracles, and we have already performed many miracles, but it is up to us now,” he said. “It won’t happen miraculously; it depends on mobilizing our national will.”

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