IDF focused on Hezbollah as Gaza fighting wraps up – Netanyahu

“We are obligated to return the residents of the North to their homes,” Netanyahu said.

By World Israel News Staff

Fighting in the Gaza Strip is winding down and the Israeli military is now focused on planning what appears to be an imminent offensive against Hezbollah, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night.

Speaking in his first Hebrew-language TV interview since the outbreak of the war eight months ago, Netanyahu said that the IDF had nearly achieved all of its goals in the Hamas stronghold of Rafah.

The most intense phase of combat in the southern Strip city is “about to end,” Netanyahu told Channel 14. But, he stressed, the military will continue battling insurgents in the area moving forward.

Israel will “continue mowing the grass all the time,” Netanyahu said. “We will not give up. We hit them hard.”

After the IDF finished up in Rafah, “we will face north,” he said, referencing the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

Since October 8th, Hezbollah has been firing missiles, rockets, and explosive drones at communities and military assets in northern Israel.

The onslaught forced tens of thousands of Israelis to evacuate their homes, effectively turning the northern border area into a buffer zone primarily occupied by the military.

“We are obligated to return the residents of the North to their homes,” Netanyahu said.

While he demurred when asked whether that would require a military solution, the premier said that “we will do what is necessary. I can assure the citizens of Israel that if we are required to take on this challenge, we will do it. We can fight on several fronts, and we are also preparing for it.”

Netanyahu said that Israel is still willing to accept a diplomatic solution to end the fighting with Hezbollah and avoid escalation into all-out war, but stressed that such a deal “must be on our terms.”