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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday morning that his country wanted to “degrade” Hamas so that they would not attack his people again.
The conflict in the Middle East has turned into a bloody exchange, according to Reuters, in which over 145 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed to date.
Netanyahu told CBS’s John Dickerson that he would continue the campaign to protect the Israelis.
“We will do everything we can to restore order and calm as well as the security of our people and deterrence,” Netanyahu told CBS “Face the Nation”. “We are trying to downgrade Hamas’ terrorist ability and its willingness to do so again.”
“So it will take some time,” he added. “I hope it won’t be long, but it’s not right now.”
The prime minister dodged questions of a ceasefire, saying it was “wrong” for Hamas to think “they can sit back and enjoy immunity” after taking action.
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“We are targeting a terrorist organization that targets our civilians and hides behind their civilians and uses them as human shields,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their missiles, their missile caches and their arms.”
“But we’re not just going to let them get away with it.”
Noting that Hamas had fired “thousands” of rockets at Israel, Netanyahu insisted that Israel is “second to none” when it comes to minimizing civilian casualties.
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“That is the difference between Israel and Hamas,” he said. “They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our civilians.”
Netanyahu has been criticized for demolishing a building that served as an Associated Press reporter’s office. Israel claimed that the office also housed a Hamas intelligence office.
While no AP reporters were injured – as warned in advance – the action shocked and angered reporters, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered “his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world”.
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Netanyahu said he provided evidence of Hamas operations in the building to US intelligence groups but declined to disclose what evidence he had during his interview.