US Vows More Mideast Air Strikes as Netanyahu Says More Than Half of Hamas Forces Defeated
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JERUSALEM, Israel – The Pentagon has promised more strikes against Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq. It's just one front in the multi-front war raging throughout the Middle East.
The U.S. and U.K. launched dozens of strikes over the weekend to retaliate for three soldiers killed by an Iranian-backed Iraqi terror group, and an attack near a U.S. base in Syria killed six members of a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia.
The U.S. military warns more are coming.
Pentagon Spokesperson Maj. Gen Pat Ryder stated, “This is the start of our response, and there will be additional actions taken to hold the IRGC (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps) and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on U.S. and coalition forces. Attacks on American forces will not be tolerated, and we will continue to take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests."
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. It's Blinken's sixth Mideast visit since the war in Gaza began.
Blinken faces major challenges. Hamas and Israel are at odds over a potential truce; Israel dismissed calls for a Palestinian state; and Iranian-backed militias are not deterred by U.S. strikes.
The United Nations announced it has begun an independent review of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) after it was revealed that UNRWA staffers took part in the October 7th massacre.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel declared, "People participating in terrorism in a terrorist attack in which 1,200 individuals were murdered is unacceptable to us. And that is why we've called for these investigations, and we've called for – we temporarily put UNWRA funding on pause.”
In Gaza, the IDF says it raided the Hamas Headquarters in Khan Younis and found training materials for the October 7th attacks. The materials included "models simulating entrance gates of Israeli kibbutzim, military bases, and IDF armored vehicles."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for complete victory over Hamas and Iranian proxies and told soldiers Israel has defeated more than half of Hamas' forces.
"We are on the way to absolute victory, and I want to tell you that we are committed to it and we will not give it up," Netanyahu said. "We will not end the war without achieving this goal of absolute victory, which will restore security to both the South and the North."
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant believes Gaza Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is on the run.
“Sinwar moves from hiding place to hiding place, " Gallant explained. "He is unable to communicate with his surroundings, and in recent days IDF fighters have found materials in the places he has been recently and thanks to them, we are improving our operations, deepening our grip on Hamas plans.”
Gallant also repeated his warning that if diplomacy doesn't work with Hezbollah on Israel's northern border, Israel is prepared.
He cautioned, “Hezbollah will not be able to threaten the residents of Israel through raids or through direct fire. I say here explicitly and unequivocally: if the political move does not succeed, we will not hesitate to use military force for the return of the residents safely to their homes.”
Currently, about 80,000 Israelis have left their homes near the Lebanese border.
One resident, Eitan Palvari, a resident of the city of Kiryat Shemona, noted, "We all abandoned our homes, our businesses, everything. And that's it – the city is deserted – scared people."
In case of war, hospitals in the north are preparing underground wards.
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