Jerusalem, Nov 10 : Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the implementation of a four-hour daily humanitarian pause in Gaza will not affect the raging war in the enclave with the Hamas militants and also not amount to a ceasefire.
Addressing reporters on Thursday night, the Minister said: “We will not cease the fire or stop fighting as long as we have hostages in Gaza.And as long as we haven’t completed our mission which is to destroy Hamas, and dismantle its military and governance capabilities.”
He also stressed that the pauses were “local and limited” to specific places in the northern Gaza Strip to allow civilians to flee.
“We’re carrying specific moves to allow the exit of Palestinian civilians from Gaza City to the south, to avoid hurting them.These do not affect the fighting,” Gallant noted.
The Defence Minister went on to say that the Israel Defense Forces soldiers were operating “in the heart of Gaza City” and are “very close to the Gaza port”.
Without going into the specifics, he said the forces have started using “new methods” to destroy underground tunnels used by the Hamas.
The Minister’s remarks came hours after the White House announced that Israel had agreed to move forward with the daily four-hour pauses of military operations in areas of northern Gaza.
A neighbourhood or area will be given several hours’ notice that they will have a pause, to give people in the north the ability to travel south for aid and relief.
At a White House press briefing, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Israel will announce the timing of the pauses three hours beforehand.
“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause, and that this process is starting today,” CNN quoted the spokesman as saying.
While welcomed the development, US President Joe Biden said that he had been advocating for a humanitarian pause longer than three days.
For the past several days, Israel has paused violence in Gaza for hours-long windows during which civilians can evacuate south, CNN reported.
At least 80,000 people used the evacuation corridor to flee northern Gaza on Thursday after the Israeli military extended the window to six hours.
On Wednesday, 50,000 people had evacuated to the south.
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