rafah bombing gaza genocide
© Getty Images / Anadolu / Abed Rahim KhatibDestroyed buildings pictured in Rafah, Gaza on December 03, 2023.
Israel is seeking to repeat the attack on the northern part of the Palestinian enclave in the south, IDF chief of staff says

A ground operation in the southern part of Gaza has already begun and it will be "no less powerful" than the attack on the north, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Sunday.

The general made the remarks as he met Israeli troops with the Gaza Division, claiming that "yesterday, today, we killed [Hamas] battalion commanders, company commanders and many operatives," confirming the operation against the southern part of the Palestinian enclave began on Saturday.

"It will be no less powerful than [the operation in northern Gaza], it will have no less results. The Hamas commanders will meet the IDF everywhere," Halevi stated.

The Israeli military has "capabilities" to conduct the operation in the "most thorough way," in the same fashion it did "with strength and thoroughly in the north of the Gaza Strip," the general said. Alongside the operation in the south, the IDF will continue its attack on northern Gaza in order to "deepen the achievements" there, he added.

The remarks come after the US, Israel's key ally, warned West Jerusalem against indiscriminately bombing the southern part of the enclave without "factoring in" civilians living there, as well as those who fled there from the IDF onslaught in the north.

"We don't support southern operations unless or until [the Israelis] have factored in all those additional civilians - actually, all civilians, but noting that there are now hundreds of thousands more civilians," White House National Security Council director John Kirby told Bloomberg TV on Friday.

Thus far the Israeli operation in Gaza, prompted by the October 7 attack launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, has resulted in the deaths of over 15,200 civilians, according to the local health ministry. The authority has been struggling with counting the exact toll, given the devastation inflicted on the local healthcare system, though it estimates that around 70% of Israel's victims were women and children.