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Netanyahu says Israel won’t continue occupying Gaza

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel “has no intention” of maintaining the occupation of Gaza or displacing civilians.

Netanyahu made the remarks a day before the opening of hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the alleged genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“I want to make a few points absolutely clear — Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population,” Netanyahu said.

He said Israel’s bombardments in Gaza are aimed at Hamas militants, “not the Palestinian population, and we are doing so in full compliance with international law.”

The Israeli army is “doing its utmost to minimize civilian casualties, while Hamas is doing its utmost to maximize them by using Palestinian civilians as human shields,” said Netanyahu.

“Our goal is to rid Gaza of Hamas terrorists and free our hostages,” he said.

Since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Oct. 7, about 1,200 people in Israel, including 790 civilians, were killed in the initial assault as hundreds of Hamas fighters and Gazans raided southern communities. Hamas took 253 people hostage, with 132 people still held in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Health Ministry reported that the Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli aggression has risen to 23,357, and about 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is displaced as the Israeli bombardments have leveled entire neighborhoods.

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