Gaza war to continue throughout 2024, Israeli army warns

Aliya Moses
3 Min Read

Israel warned its war against Hamas will continue throughout 2024 as unrelenting strikes killed two dozen people in Gaza and the Palestinian militant group fired a rocket barrage at the stroke of midnight.

Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a New Year’s message that some of the 300,000 army reservists would get a break from the war, in order to prepare for the “prolonged fighting” ahead.

The army “must plan ahead, understanding that we will be required for additional tasks and warfare throughout this year,” Hagari said as the conflict sparked by the October 7 Hamas attacks raged on.

Heavy artillery fire again pounded targets in Hamas-run Gaza, killing at least 24 people, health ministry officials there said, with attacks reported across the length of the territory.

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In the besieged Gaza Strip, where the UN says 85 percent of the population has been displaced, 20-year-old Hamdan Abu Arab said he hoped “2024 will be better”.

“We used to go out and enjoy our time on the last day of the year,” he recalled. “But this New Year’s Eve, there are only missiles and the remains of people.”

Hamas marked the start of the year by firing a rocket barrage at Israel in what it called a “response to the massacres of civilians”.

AFP journalists in Tel Aviv witnessed missile defence systems intercept rockets overhead as some revellers ran for cover and others kept up the party with a shrug.

“My heart was pounding,” said one, Gabriel Zemelman, 26, shortly after the rocket fire. “It’s terrifying. You just saw the life we live, it’s crazy.”

The bloodiest ever Gaza war was triggered by Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

The militants also took around 250 people hostage that day, more than half of whom remain in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

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Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and launched a punishing offensive that has reduced vast areas of Gaza to a ruined wasteland and killed at least 21,822 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The Israeli army says 172 of its soldiers have been killed inside Gaza in the battle against the Islamist militant group which Israel, the United States and European Union have designated a “terrorist” organisation.

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