Israel-Hamas conflict: Israel 'to increase' Gaza airstrikes

The Israeli military said it would step up its aerial campaign towards Hamas, as a Gaza ground offensive looms

File photo of Israeli air strikes on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip (photo: Getty Images)
File photo of Israeli air strikes on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip (photo: Getty Images)


Italy's Meloni holds talks with Netanyahu

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni has made a trip to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, her office said.

The meeting Saturday came after Meloni participated in a summit in Cairo focused on ways to de-escalate the raging Israel-Hamas conflict.

Meloni's office said that during the meeting she reiterated "the right of Israel to defend itself under international law and to live in peace" while also underlining "the importance of guaranteeing humanitarian access to Gaza and a prospect of peace for the region.''

Her office said she brought "a message of solidarity and Italy's closeness" following Hamas' unprecedented attack on 7 October.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu told Meloni that Israel has to defeat "the barbarism" of Hamas.

"And we expect all the countries that lined up to fight ISIS, to line up and fight Hamas, because Hamas is the new ISIS," he said, referring to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS).

Israel to ramp up airstrikes on Hamas in Gaza

The spokesman for Israel's military said the country planned to step up its air attacks as preparation for the next stage of conflict.

Asked about a possible ground invasion, IDF Spokesperson's Head Daniel Hagari told reporters the military was trying to create optimal conditions before launching one.

"We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today," Hagari said.

Israel has ordered residents of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south to avoid being caught up in the conflict with the Islamist military group that launched an attack on Israel on 7 October .

On Saturday, Israel's military said some 700,000 people had moved to southern areas of the territory.

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Published: 22 Oct 2023, 8:40 AM