Netanyahu vows to control Gaza Strip – Egypt border

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to retake control of the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, expanding Israel’s mission to neutralize Hamas in a conflict it says it expects to last for months.

“The war is at its height,” Netanyahu told reporters on Saturday of the fighting since Oct. 7 when the Palestinian militant group Hamas and its allies infiltrated Israel, killing 1,200 people and capturing 240 hostages.

He said the Philadelphi Corridor buffer zone that runs along Gaza’s border with Egypt must be in Israeli hands.

“It must be shut,” Netanyahu said. “It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarisation that we seek.”

This move, if implemented, would reverse Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and puts Gaza under exclusive Israeli control.

Netanyahu’s comments about the buffer zone came as Israeli military forces pressed ahead with an offensive that the prime minister reiterated will last “for many more months.”

Following Hamas’ surprise October 7 incursion, Israel launched a full-scale attack in Gaza, displacing nearly all its 2.3 million residents and killing at least 21,672 Palestinians, according to health authorities in Gaza, with more than 56,000 injured and thousands more feared dead under the rubble.