“What is coming will be worse,” the Israeli military said in phone messages targeting Gaza militants.
“For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.” Psalm 69:35
Israel’s prime minister warned Monday that the country faced a prolonged campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as the military urged residents in parts of the embattled territory to evacuate ahead of what appeared to be a broadening of the three-week war.
The international community so far has been unable to bring about a cease-fire that would end the fighting, which has already killed at least 1,050 Palestinians, 52 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side.
But with attacks mounting from both sides Monday, and Israel and Hamas far apart on terms for a truce, a cease-fire appeared elusive.
“We need to be ready for a prolonged campaign,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, standing beside his defense minister and chief of staff. “We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri struck a defiant tone in response to Netanyahu’s warnings. “His threats do not scare Hamas or the Palestinian people and the occupation will pay the price for the massacres against civilians and children,” he said.
Israel said it sent text messages and phoned residents of northern Gaza — including Shijaiyah, the site of one of the war’s bloodiest battles last week — urging them to flee their homes and move toward Gaza City.