Israel PM vows 'no one will stop us' on Gaza war's 100th day

Israel PM vows 'no one will stop us' on Gaza war's 100th day
UN representatives have repeatedly warned about the threat of famine faced by Gaza's 2.3 million residents, the majority of whom are displaced.
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received intense criticism for not being able to secure the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza [Photo by RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government has faced growing international pressure over the killings of civilians in Gaza, vowed that "no one will stop us" as Israeli strikes pounded Gaza on the 100th day of the war.

The conflict has created a dire humanitarian crisis for the 2.4 million people in Gaza, the United Nations and aid groups warn, and reduced much of the coastal strip to rubble.

Gaza's government media office said Sunday that "more than 100 people were martyred in the attacks last night until 6:00 am in all areas of the Gaza Strip".

Fears that the conflict could spread across the wider region grew when new strikes hit Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen on Saturday, after the rebels warned of more attacks on what they deem Israeli-linked Red Sea shipping.

US and British forces bombed Yemen to stop the drone and missile attacks on Israeli-linked vessels launched by the Houthis, who say they are acting in solidarity with Gaza.

On the Israel-Lebanon border, which has seen regular exchanges of fire with Hamas ally Hezbollah, the Israeli army said it killed four gunmen who had crossed the frontier and "fired at the forces".

Troops patrolling the Har Dov area - Israel's term for the disputed Shebaa Farms district near the annexed Golan Heights - "engaged and responded with live fire", a statement said, adding that "four terrorists were killed".

Israel's renewed attacks on Gaza began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on 7 October, which resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

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Hamas also seized about 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed by Israeli fire.

Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 23,843 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

After the International Court of Justice in The Hague heard arguments that accused Israel of breaching the UN Genocide Convention, Netanyahu insisted that Israel will "continue until victory".

"No one will stop us - not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else," he said at a televised news conference on Saturday, referring to the Iran-aligned "axis of resistance" groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

"I say this, on your behalf, to every world leader who I speak with - we will not compromise and we will not stop. We are continuing until victory; we have no other choice," he added.

'Increased pressure'

The Israeli military said on Sunday its forces had struck rocket launching pits in the territory's north and hit targets across the Gaza Strip including the main southern city Khan Yunis. 

Hamas's military wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades reported "clashes with Zionist [Israeli] forces" in Khan Younis.

Further south near the border with Egypt, 80-year-old Palestinian Nimma al-Akhras said a strike had destroyed her house in Rafah.

"We started to scream and I couldn't move," she recounted, "but someone pulled me out and put me on a cart."

In Israel, Netanyahu's government has faced growing calls to rescue the captives who have now been held in Gaza for 100 days, with thousands rallying in Tel Aviv on Saturday to demand action.

"We will continue to come here week after week until everybody is released," Edan Begerano, 47, told AFP.

Bashir al-Zayadna, whose uncle Youssef and cousin Bilal were taken hostage on October 7, said their return "is 100 days too late".

"Everyone should be back home," he said. "The war should end... I wish to be able to hug them, to be able to tell them it's all over."

Separately, a smaller anti-war rally drew about 100 people, with protesters brandishing signs saying "Revenge is not victory" and "No to the occupation".

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Who is Wissam Tawil and what is Hezbollah's Radwan Force fighting Israel?

Israel, which after years of blockading Gaza imposed a total siege as the fighting began, has repeatedly claimed that its ground forces have gained control over the territory's north. 

As the war drags on, army chief Herzi Halevi said "we are fighting for our right to live here in safety".

Halevi said "increased military pressure" on Hamas was the only way to secure the release of hostages, and dismissed "extortion attempts for a ceasefire that seemingly will not bring about real results".

'Traumatised' generation

At Rafah's Al-Najjar hospital, mourners prayed near the bodies of slain relatives.

One man, Bassem Araf, held up a photo of a child and said: "She died hungry... This is the resistance they are targeting in Gaza, just children."

The Gaza Strip's people suffer acute shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel, and the health system is collapsing.

"The massive death, destruction, displacement, hunger, loss and grief of the last 100 days are staining our shared humanity," said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, during a visit to Gaza on Saturday.

He warned an entire generation of children in Gaza were being "traumatised", diseases were spreading and the clock was "ticking fast towards famine".

Winter rains have exacerbated the dire conditions for 1.9 million Palestinian displaced by the violence, according to UN estimates.

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Telecommunications have been partially restored in southern Gaza, an AFP reporter in Rafah said, after operator Paltel reported a complete outage on Friday.

Paltel said an Israeli strike killed two of its employees in Khan Yunis while they were repairing the network.

Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ahmad Tibi said on social media three of his relatives had been killed in a strike on central Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp.

"May God have mercy of them," he said. "We [will] love life, if we can find a way to it."