The Israeli army on Tuesday denied reports suggesting that US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel may delay the Israeli planned ground operation against Gaza. The Times of Israel news website cited an Israeli military spokesman as saying Biden’s visit to Israel will not delay or complicate the ground operation.
Early on Tuesday, a former Israeli senior army commander told a local radio that Biden’s visit would delay the Israeli ground operation. He, however, stressed that the ground operation is certain but it is a matter of when. In an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes program, Biden said it would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza again, but at the same time stressed that Hamas “must be eliminated entirely.”
The fighting began when Hamas on Oct. 7 initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased violence by Israeli settlers. The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
At least 2,848 Palestinians, including 750 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, while the death toll from such Israeli attacks in the West Bank has reached 60. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in the armed conflict.