Israel-Gaza conflict: Benjamin Netanyahu warns of no let up in raids until Hamas tunnels are destroyed

'Today they are against Israel, tomorrow they will be against you – countries of the world,' warns Israeli PM

Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned last night that military operations in Gaza would continue at full force.

Although shelling continued yesterday, there had been several reports that the ground offensive was drawing to a close, at least temporarily.

But Mr Netanyahu said in a televised speech later in the evening that there would be no let up until Israel had achieved its aims, chiefly destroying cross-border tunnels.

“From the beginning, we promised to return peace to Israel’s citizens, and we will continue to act until that aim is achieved,” he said. “We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed.... If we hadn’t done this, Hamas would have been able to kill and kidnap many Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Read more: Cameron 'in the wrong' over Gaza, says Miliband
At least 100 dead in 24 hours in Rafah
Young Americans judge Israel's actions in Gaza differently
Comment: What has Israel achieved in 26 bloody days?

“I again want to stress this point, we have nothing against the civilians of Gaza and we are sorry for every single casualty there. We ask the international community to defend and support the de-militarisation of Gaza. There are no limits to terrorism. Today they are against Israel, tomorrow they will be against you – countries of the world.”

Earlier in the day, Israel said its Iron Dome interceptor had shot down rockets launched at the cities of Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

Several ceasefires between Israel and Hamas have quickly collapsed, most recently on Friday after two Israeli soldiers were killed and a third, Hadar Goldin, went missing. Israel accused Hamas of seizing Second-Lieutenant Goldin and yesterday there were renewed Israeli strikes. Hamas said it was not holding the soldier.

Mr Netanyahu said in his speech: “I’m extremely proud of our officers for operating in an unbelievable manner, defending our country.” 

It is estimated that at least 1,665 Gazans and 66 Israelis have died in the conflict so far. Israel launched the air and naval offensive on 8 July after a surge of cross-border rocket fire.

A Palestinian delegation was to fly to Egypt for new truce talks, but Israel said it would not send its own envoys to Cairo as scheduled yesterday. “Hamas is hoodwinking the international community again and again,” an Israeli official said. “It is not interested in an accommodation.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi added: “Hamas cannot be trusted to keep their word. They cannot stop because, for them, a ceasefire at this stage  would mean acknowledging the worst possible defeat.”

Israel says that, with or without a truce, its forces will pursue their main mission of closing the  tunnels used by Hamas for cross-border attacks. More than 30 have already been unearthed and blown up, the military said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen