Israeli military intelligence chief resigns as Gaza pounded – World

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JERUSALEM: Israel’s military intelligence chief has resigned after taking responsibility for failures leading to the Hamas attack on October 7, the military said on Monday, as Israel carried out more shelling in war-battered Gaza overnight.

General Aharon Haliva is the first top Israeli official to step down for failing to prevent the Hamas attack, which triggered the war in Gaza and brought the government and military under intense scrutiny in Israel.

“The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with,” Haliva said in his resignation letter. “I carry that black day with me ever since.”

Israel has meanwhile lashed out at reports that its top ally the United States was considering sanctioning the military’s ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion over alleged human rights abuses in the West Bank from before the war.

“At a time when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose a sanction on a unit in the IDF (army) is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on X.

Netanyahu said late Sunday that the Israeli military would increase military pressure to “deliver additional and painful blows” to Hamas in the coming days, without elaborating further.

The prime minister has repeatedly said Israel will launch a ground assault on Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, despite international concern about the majority of the territory’s population who have taken refuge there.

The promise of more military pressure came amid growing global opposition to Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which has turned vasts areas of the territory into rubble and sparked a dire humanitarian crisis including fears of famine. Gaza was hit by heavy shelling overnight, with strikes reported in several areas in the centre and south of the besieged territory, an AFP correspondent said Monday. Doctors at the Al-Aqsa Hospital in the Gaza city of Deir El Balah told AFP that six people were wounded in an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza, while three more were injured by a separate strike on the Al-Bureij refugee camp.

Israel’s allies including Washington have warned against sending troops into Rafah, fearing huge civilian casualties in the only major Gaza city yet to be invaded during the offensive.

More than 1.5 million of the 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza are estimated to have taken refuge in Rafah. However thousands are believed to have headed north since Israel withdrew most of its troops from Gaza earlier this month.

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