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IDF should retain control for disarmament of Gaza after war, says Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday rejected the idea that an international force could be responsible for security in the Gaza Strip after the war, saying that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) should retain control of the disarmament of Gaza, CNN reported on Wednesday.

According to CNN, this is not the first time Netanyahu has called for post-war Israeli military control in Gaza.

"On the day after, Gaza must be disarmed. And in order for Gaza to be disarmed, there's only one force that can ensure that and this force is the IDF," Netanyahu said on Tuesday during a news conference. "No international force can be responsible for that," he said, adding, "We saw what happened to other places where international forces were brought for disarmament purposes."

In November, Netanyahu told CNN that Israel's security role in a post-war Gaza would be an "over-riding, over-reaching military envelope," but did not explain what that meant.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military encircled the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces' chief of the general staff said, CNN reported.

"Sixty days after the war began, our forces are now encircling the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip," IDF chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Tuesday, adding, "Simultaneously, we continue to secure our accomplishments in the northern Gaza Strip."

Earlier, the IDF said its forces were operating "in the heart" of Khan Younis, the territory's second-largest city.

CNN reported that in the north, Israeli troops also "completed the encirclement" of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, Israel's military said Tuesday, as it seeks to complete its offensive operations against Hamas militants in the north of the enclave.

Halevi said the IDF was now entering the "third phase of the ground operations," though he did not specify what that meant.

"We have secured many Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip, and now we are operating against its strongholds in the south," he said.

In response to a journalist's question about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Halevi pointed to the aid trickling into Gaza, saying, "We're making great efforts, in accordance to the government's decision and the international law," CNN reported.


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