Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday said Hamas has “lost control” of the Gaza Strip that it has ruled for 16 years, AFP reported.
“Hamas has lost control of Gaza. Terrorists are fleeing southward. Civilians are looting Hamas bases,” he said without providing evidence. “They don’t have faith in the government anymore,” Gallant added in a video broadcast on Israel’s main TV stations.
The war began on October 7 when Hamas gunmen rampaged through Israeli towns. Around 1,200 people died and 240 were taken as hostages, marking the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year history.
In retaliation, Israel launched its campaign to eradicate Hamas last month, following the declaration of war, and ground assault.
The conflict has so far claimed 11,240 lives in Gaza, including 4,630 children, according to the Gaza media office.Two thirds of Gaza’s population has become homeless because of the Israeli military campaign.
Israel also ordered the total evacuation of the northern half of Gaza, urging the civilians to move for their own safety.
As the ground invasion continues, thousands fled Gaza’s largest hospital over the weekend as Israeli troops encircled it, and doctors said gunfire and explosions raged all around it Monday. The hospital currently lacks electricity, water, food, medicines and equipment, posing a grave danger to the lives of newborns there.
Israel has been consistently rejecting growing calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that all of the more than 240 hostages captured by Hamas during its October 7 attacks are returned in order for him to consider a ceasefire.
(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)