Israel expects difficult new stage in Gaza, sticks to war aims - spokesperson
"We're moving ahead with second stage now. A second stage that is going to be difficult militarily"
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel expects difficult fighting in the new phase of its war in Gaza but is open to "constructive feedback" on reducing harm to civilians as long as the advice is consistent with its aim of destroying Hamas, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday.
"We're moving ahead with the second stage now. A second stage that is going to be difficult militarily," spokesperson Eylon Levy told reporters.
Israeli forces have begun operating in the southern area of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, where the population has been swollen by around 1 million refugees from northern areas and has faced heavy international pressure, including from Washington, to limit civilian casualties.
"Any constructive feedback that we get, any serious military strategic advice about how to target Hamas while minimizing harm to civilians, we will of course mention," Levy said.
But he said the advice had to be in line with the aim of destroying the Palestinians militant group.
"We are going to continue with our campaign to destroy Hamas, a campaign that the United States sees eye to eye with us about the strategic objectives of this war, that this war cannot end with Hamas still standing," he said.
Levy said Israel was making many efforts to reduce harm to civilians. "We didn't pick the battlefield, Hamas picked the battlefield," he said.