We are only at the beginning: war will be long and hard – Israeli Prime Minister

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the second stage of the war against Hamas began with the deployment of new ground forces in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening.

Source: Netanyahu at Tel Aviv press conference, The Times of Israel

Details: Netanyahu said the goals of Israel's war are clear: "destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities; and returning the hostages home."

Netanyahu noted that the decision to launch a ground invasion was made unanimously, by the war cabinet and the security cabinet.

The prime minister said that the initial stage was a massive air campaign "to allow our ground forces to go in as safely as possible".

"We eliminated countless murderers, including mass murderers. We destroyed countless headquarters and terrorist infrastructure. We are only at the beginning," he said.

Netanyahu added that the war will be "long and hard, and we are ready".

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Saturday it continued ground operations in the Gaza Strip, targeting several militants and Hamas positions.

The IDF, during operations that began on Friday evening, troops attacked terrorist cells that tried to carry out anti-tank guided missile and mortar attacks. In addition, the ground forces found and destroyed a booby-trapped house.

At the same time, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called for a reassessment of diplomatic relations with Türkiye, citing "harsh" criticism of Israel's military offensive in Gaza by Turkish leaders.

Cohen said he has ordered Israeli diplomats in Türkiye to return to Israel. Last week, Israel recalled its diplomats from Türkiye and also called on Israeli citizens to leave the country due to terrorist threats.

Background: Israeli ground forces entered the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, 27 October, after launching an intense bombardment with artillery and rockets fired from military aircraft.

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